hope·less | \ ˈhō-pləs \

Definition of hopeless 

1a : having no expectation of good or success : despairing felt hopeless and alone

b : not susceptible to remedy or cure doctors say his condition is hopeless

c : incapable of redemption or improvement She's a hopeless romantic. the most hopeless group of golfers you've ever seen

2a : giving no reason to expect good or success : giving no ground for hope : desperate The situation looked hopeless.

b : incapable of solution, management, or accomplishment : impossible a hopeless task

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Other words from hopeless

hopelessness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for hopeless


despairing, desperate, despondent, forlorn


hopeful, optimistic

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Choose the Right Synonym for hopeless

despondent, despairing, desperate, hopeless mean having lost all or nearly all hope. despondent implies a deep dejection arising from a conviction of the uselessness of further effort. despondent about yet another rejection despairing suggests the slipping away of all hope and often despondency. despairing appeals for the return of the kidnapped child desperate implies despair that prompts reckless action or violence in the face of defeat or frustration. one last desperate attempt to turn the tide of battle hopeless suggests despair and the cessation of effort or resistance and often implies acceptance or resignation. the situation of the trapped miners is hopeless

Examples of hopeless in a Sentence

He felt confused and hopeless after losing his job. We were the most hopeless group of golfers you ever saw. He's very ill, but his condition isn't hopeless.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Perhaps Republican leaders have written off the 190th District as hopeless, since 87 percent of the voters there are Democrats, just 4 percent are Republicans, and 9 percent are independents or members of smaller political parties. Chris Brennan, Philly.com, "Nancy Pelosi pals around with convicted tax dodger at Dems fundraiser in Philly," 13 July 2018 During the recession and recovery, that distinction was crucial: The official unemployment rate ignored millions of people who had abandoned their job searches as hopeless. Ben Casselman, New York Times, "The Jobs Recovery: A Longer View," 1 June 2018 My dad is kind of a hopeless romantic, and Katherine’s awesome. Morgan M. Evans, Fox News, "David Foster's daughter, Erin, calls Katharine McPhee 'mommy' following engagement news," 4 July 2018 No single day highlights just how far this conflict has strayed into the disjointed, the absurd, the hopeless. Ben Wedeman, CNN, "The dream of 'peace in our time' in the Middle East died on Monday," 14 May 2018 The sad fact is that terrorism appears to give a twisted sense of purpose and belonging to the desperate and the hopeless. Moza Bint Nasser, Time, "Why Protecting Education Would Prevent Terrorism," 26 Apr. 2018 The impact is two-fold, building hope in the hopeless and fostering compassion and fulfillment in the servant. Melanie Laughman, Cincinnati.com, "Preps quick hits: MVCA helps Harvey relief efforts, refs inducted into state Hall of Fame," 9 Mar. 2018 For me, loving the Cardinals is some incalculable combination of a never-ending hope for the hopeless and the thought that these years of suffering will be redeemed on some unforgettable day in my life. Kevin Sampsell, Longreads, "Unpacking Forty Years of Fandom For a Losing Team," 3 Feb. 2018 If these strike you as the words of a hopeless romantic, good. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "Longoria a symbol of Giants’ optimism," 19 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hopeless.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hopeless

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Dictionary Entries near hopeless






hope not

hope so

Statistics for hopeless

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hopeless

The first known use of hopeless was in 1534

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More Definitions for hopeless



English Language Learners Definition of hopeless

: having or feeling no hope

: unable to be changed

: unable to be helped or improved : very bad


hope·less | \ ˈhō-pləs \

Kids Definition of hopeless

1 : having no hope He feels hopeless about the future.

2 : offering no hope The situation looks hopeless.

Other words from hopeless

hopelessly adverb
hopelessness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on hopeless

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hopeless

Spanish Central: Translation of hopeless

Nglish: Translation of hopeless for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hopeless for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hopeless

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