From Middle English forlorn, forloren, from Old English forloren, past participle of forlēosan (“to lose”)), from Proto-Germanic *fraluzanaz (“lost”), past participle of *fraleusaną (“to lose”), equivalent to for- + lorn. Cognate with Dutch verloren (“lost”), German verloren (“lost”), Swedish förlorad (“lost”), West Frisian ferlern (“lost”). See further at lese/leese, lorn.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /fəˈlɔːn/, /fɔː-/
- (General American) IPA(key): /fɔɹˈlɔɹn/
Audio (GA) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɔː(ɹ)n
- Hyphenation: for‧lorn
- Abandoned, deserted, left behind.
1578–1579, Ed[mund] Sp[enser], “Prosopopoia. Or Mother Hubberds Tale. [...] Dedicated to the Right Honorable the Ladie Compton and Mountegle”, in Complaints. Containing Sundrie Small Poemes of the Worlds Vanitie. Whereof the Next Page Maketh Mention, London: Imprinted for VVilliam Ponsonbie, dwelling in Paules Churchyard at the signe of the Bishops head, published 1591, OCLC 84758486:
- For miſerie doth braueſt mindes abate, / And make them ſeeke for that they wont to ſcorne, / Of fortune and of hope at once forlorne.
c. 1588–1593, [William Shakespeare], The Most Lamentable Romaine Tragedie of Titus Andronicus: As It was Plaide by the Right Honourable the Earle of Darbie, Earle of Pembrooke, and Earle of Sussex Their Seruants (the First Quarto), London: Printed by Iohn Danter, and are to be sold by Edward White & Thomas Millington, at the little North doore of Paules at the signe of the Gunne, published 1594, OCLC 222241046, [Act II, scene iii]:
- Some ſay that Rauens foſter forlorne children, / The whilſt their owne birds famiſh in their neſts: / Oh be to me though thy hard hart ſay no, / Nothing ſo kinde but ſomething pittiful.
- Miserable, as when lonely after being abandoned.
1766 March, [Oliver Goldsmith], “A Ballad”, in The Vicar of Wakefield: A Tale. Supposed to be Written by Himself, volume I, Salisbury, Wiltshire: Printed by B. Collins, for F[rancis] Newbery, in Pater-Noster-Row, London, OCLC 938500648, page 70:
- For here forlorn and loſt I tread, / With fainting ſteps and ſlow; / Where wilds immeaſurably ſpread, / Seem lengthening as I go.
1857, William H[ickling] Prescott, “War with France. 1557.”, in History of the Reign of Philip the Second, King of Spain, volume I, new edition, London: G[eorge] Routledge & Co., Farringdon Street, page 125:
- The condition of the besieged, in the mean time, was forlorn in the extreme; not so much from want of food, though their supplies were scanty, as from excessive toil and exposure.
1859, Owen Meredith [pseudonym; Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton], “The Wanderer”, in Poems by Owen Meredith. The Wanderer and Clytemnestra, Boston, Mass.: Ticknor and Fields, OCLC 84569940, prologue, part I, stanza 1, page 17:
- Sweet are familiar songs, tho' Music dips / Her hollow shell in Thought's forlornest wells: / And sweet, tho' sad, the sound of midnight bells, / When the oped casement with the night-rain drips.
1921, Ben Travers, A Cuckoo in the Nest, London: The Bodley Head, OCLC 150705804; republished Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1925, OCLC 9003849, page 67:
- Sophia broke down here. Even at this moment she was subconsciously comparing her rendering of the part of the forlorn bride with Miss Marie Lohr's.
- Unlikely to succeed.
1625, James Ussher, “Of Traditions”, in An Ansvver to a Challenge Made by a Iesuite in Ireland. Wherein the Iudgment of Antiquity in the Points Questioned, is Truly Delivered, and the Noveltie of the Now Romish Doctrine Plainely Discovered by Iames Vssher bishop of Meath. Whereunto is Added a Sermon Preached before His Majesty at Wansted, by the Same Author, London: Printed [by Humphrey Lownes] for the Society of Stationers, OCLC 228715552; republished in C[harles] R[ichard] Elrington, editor, The Whole Works of the Most Rev. James Ussher, D.D. Lord Archbishop of Armagh, and Primate of All Ireland, volume III, Dublin: Hodges & Smith; London: Whittaker & Co., , OCLC 49005379, page 41:
- To begin therefore with Traditions, which is your forlorn hope that in the first place we are to set upon: this must I needs tell you before we begin, that you much mistake the matter, if you think that traditions of all sorts promiscuously are struck at by our religion.
1859, Charles Dickens, “Dusk”, in A Tale of Two Cities, book III (The Track of a Storm), London: Chapman and Hall, 193, Piccadilly; and at the office of All the Year Round, 111, Wellington Street North, OCLC 906152507, page 226:
- Well! It is a forlorn hope at the best, and not much the forlorner for being delayed till dark.
1859, Mowbray Thomson, chapter VII, in The Story of Cawnpore, London: Richard Bentley, New Burlington Street, publisher in ordinary to Her Majesty, OCLC 973229909, pages 119–120:
- Mrs. Blair had lost her husband, who was a cavalry officer, in Cabool, at the memorable Khyber Pass; but as no precise tidings of his death had every been received, she cherished the forlorn hope that he was still living in captivity among the Affghans, and that some day it would be her happiness yet to be reunited with him, even on earth.
- forlorne (obsolete)
- (miserable): forsaken
forlorn (plural forlorns) (military)
- A forlorn hope.
1659, Richard Elton, “Severall Firings to be Performed upon the Former Figure, and how to be Mannaged by the Severall Officers”, in The Compleat Body of the Art Military: Exactly Compiled, and Gradually Composed for the Foot, in the Best Refined Manner, According to the Practice of the Modern Times. [...], 2nd edition, London: Printed by R[obert] and W[illiam] Leybourn, in Monkswel-Street, in Lambes Chappel neer Criplegate, OCLC 8121231, book III, page 152:
- The Regiment being drawn up into the former Figure, they may proceed to Firings upon it, firſt let the Forlorns fire five or six times over, being commanded by the eldeſt Captains Lieutenant, who is to be aſſiſted by a couple of able Serjeants; after let him wheel off to the right and left, and bring them down in the Reer of the Pikes. Then let the ſecond Captains Lieutenant being aſſiſted by two Serjeants lead up the reſerves by the out-ſide of the Pikes, at ſuch time when the Forlorns begin to come off, […]
1765, [Thomas] Hutchinson, “[Appendix.] Number XXI. Major Walley’s Journal in the Expedition against Canada in 1692. A Narrative of the Proceedings to Canada, soe far as Concerned the Land Army.”, in The History of the Colony of Massachuset’s Bay, from the First Settlement thereof in 1628, until Its Incorporation with the Colony of Plimouth, Province of Main, &c. by the Charter of King William and Queen Mary, in 1691, 2nd edition, London: Printed for M. Richardson, in Pater-noster Row, OCLC 937920414, page 556:
- […] I ordered the forlorns to advance and to march, at their open order, towards the upland, and by this time the tide was upon the ground wee ſtood on: The forlorn were no ſooner advanced a few rods, before there was firing on both ſides; […]
1782, “a Shropshire gentleman” [i.e., Daniel Defoe], “Memoirs of a Cavalier, &c. Part Second.”, in E. Staveley, editor, The History of the Civil Wars in Germany, from the Year 1630 to 1635: Also Genuine Memoirs of the Wars of England, in the Unhappy Reign of Charles the First; Containing the Whole History of Those Miserable Times; until the King Lost His Head on the Scaffold, in the Memorable Year 1648, Newark, Nottinghamshire: Printed by James Tomlinson, for the publisher, OCLC 875128661, page 339:
- I was this day in the van, and our forlorn having entered Huntingdon without any great reſiſtance till they came to the bridge, finding it barricaded, they ſent me word; I cauſed the troops to halt, and rode up to the forlorn, to view the countenance of the enemy, and found by the poſture they had put themſelves in, that they reſolved to ſell us the paſſage as dear as they could.
1861, Evert A[ugustus] Duyckinck, “Henry Lee”, in National Portrait Gallery of Eminent Americans: Including Orators, Statesmen, Naval and Military Heroes, Jurists, Authors, etc., etc., from the Original Full Length Paintings by Alonzo Chappel. With Biographical and Historical Narratives, [...] In Two Volumes, volume I, New York, N.Y.: Johnson, Fry & Company, 27 Beekman Street, OCLC 956540482, page 236:
- The garrison, taken by surprise, had the first intelligence of the assault in the "forlorns plunging into the canal."
- A member of a forlorn hope.