\ \ [12] Forlorn began life as the past participle of Old English forlēosanlose completely, forfeit, abandon’, a compound verb formed in prehistoric Germanic times from the intensive prefix *fer- and *leusan (a relative of modern English lose). It retains some of its early connotations of being ‘abandoned’, but the main modern sense ‘miserable, downcast’ developed in the 14th century. The forlorn of forlorn hope [16], incidentally, is a translation of the related Dutch verlorenlost’, but hope has no etymological connection with English hope. It is simply an anglicization of Dutch hooptroop, band’ (to which English heap is related). The word was originally used for a squad of soldiers sent out on a very dangerous mission, with little hope that they would return. The modern sense ‘hopeless undertaking’ developed in the 17th century, ‘misguided hope’ probably even more recently.
\ \ Cf.LOSE

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Forlorn — For*lorn , a. [OE., p. p. of forlesen to lose utterly, AS. forle[ o]san (p. p. forloren); pref. for + le[ o]san (in comp.) to lose; cf. D. verliezen to lose, G. verlieren, Sw. f[ o]rlora, Dan. forloren, Goth. fraliusan to lose. See {For }, and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Forlorn — For*lorn , n. 1. A lost, forsaken, or solitary person. [1913 Webster] Forced to live in Scotland a forlorn. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. A forlorn hope; a vanguard. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Our forlorn of horse marched within a mile of the enemy. Oliver… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • forlorn — (adj.) mid 12c., forloren disgraced, depraved, pp. of obsolete forlesan be deprived of, lose, abandon, from O.E. forleosan to lose, abandon, let go; destroy, ruin, from FOR (Cf. for ) completely + leosan to lose (see LOSE (Cf. lose)). In the… …   Etymology dictionary

  • forlorn — ► ADJECTIVE 1) pitifully sad and lonely. 2) unlikely to succeed or be fulfilled. ● forlorn hope Cf. ↑forlorn hope DERIVATIVES forlornly adverb forlornness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • forlorn — index derelict (abandoned), disappointed, disconsolate, lugubrious, pessimistic Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • forlorn — 1 lorn, lone, desolate, lonesome, lonely, *alone, solitary Analogous words: separated, parted, divorced, severed, sundered (see SEPARATE vb): forsaken, deserted, abandoned (see ABANDON vb): wretched, *miserable: depressed, weighed down, oppressed …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • forlorn — [adj] hopeless, inconsolable abandoned, alone, bereft, blue*, cheerless, comfortless, cynical, defenseless, depressed, deserted, desolate, despairing, desperate, despondent, destitute, destroyed, disconsolate, down and out*, dragging*, forgotten …   New thesaurus

  • forlorn — [fôr lôrn′, fərlôrn′] adj. [ME forloren < OE, pp. of forleosan, to lose utterly: see FOR & LOSE] 1. abandoned or deserted 2. a) lonely and sad; unhappy and neglected b) without hope; desperate 3 …   English World dictionary

  • forlorn — [[t]fɔː(r)lɔ͟ː(r)n[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED: ADJ n, v link ADJ, ADJ after v If someone is forlorn, they feel alone and unhappy. [LITERARY] One of the demonstrators, a young woman, sat forlorn on the pavement... He looked a forlorn figure as he limped… …   English dictionary

  • forlorn — for|lorn [fəˈlo:n US fərˈlo:rn] adj [: Old English; Origin: , past participle of forleosan to lose ] 1.) seeming lonely and unhappy ▪ a forlorn figure sitting all by herself ▪ Ana sat with a bowed head and spoke in a forlorn voice. 2.) a place… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • forlorn — adjective 1 seeming lonely and unhappy: a forlorn little figure sitting outside the station 2 a place that is forlorn seems empty and sad, and is often in bad condition: The house looked old and forlorn. 3 a forlorn hope something you hope for… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

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