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Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.


hope +‎ -less


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hopeless (comparative more hopeless, superlative most hopeless)

  1. Destitute of hope; having no expectation of good; despairing.
    • William Shakespeare
      I am a woman, friendless, hopeless.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 15, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      Edward Churchill still attended to his work in a hopeless mechanical manner like a sleep-walker who walks safely on a well-known round. But his Roman collar galled him, his cossack stifled him, his biretta was as uncomfortable as a merry-andrew's cap and bells.
  2. Giving no ground of hope; promising nothing desirable; desperate.
    a hopeless cause

Usage notes[edit]

  • Nouns to which "hopeless" is often applied: case, situation, romantic, love, cause, person, despair, life, undertaking, alcoholic, man, endeavor, place, pain, agony, project.