- desolate or dreary; unhappy or miserable, as in feeling, condition, or appearance.
- lonely and sad; forsaken.
- expressive of hopelessness; despairing: forlorn glances.
- bereft; destitute: forlorn of comfort.
Origin of forlorn
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for forlorn
Today, a forlorn air hangs over Santa Maria degli Angeli, like a graveyard where ghosts are buried.The Venetian Nuns Who Ditched Their Habits for High Fashion
September 14, 2014
The roads are forlorn, the landscape barren, the forests menacing.Holocaust Horrors Haunt the Films ‘Ida’ And ‘The German Doctor’
May 12, 2014
He could not shake the image of that forlorn, mistreated horse.Central Park’s Carriages Saved This Horse
April 24, 2014
He looked as forlorn as might be expected of a retired cop who finds himself the one behind bars.Ex-Cop’s Shooting of Texting Moviegoer Ends in Tragedy
January 15, 2014
The collapse of the Soviet Empire more than 20 years ago left it, for a time, orphaned and forlorn.The French Boss-Nappers’ Last Stand
January 7, 2014
She had had a forlorn hope that he would throw down the sheet; but he did not.Quaint Courtships
These men were as forlorn and miserable as my self, death grinning in our faces at every turn.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
Altogether, the appearance of the individual was forlorn and miserable.The Last of the Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper
There were forlorn hollows under his eyes; now he looked twice his age.Tiverton Tales
That he might be; but he was not so forlorn as to roam away and leave them together.Little Dorrit
- miserable, wretched, or cheerless; desolate
- deserted; forsaken
- (postpositive foll by of) destitute; bereftforlorn of hope
- desperatethe last forlorn attempt
Word Origin and History for forlorn
mid-12c., forloren "disgraced, depraved," past participle of obsolete forlesan "be deprived of, lose, abandon," from Old English forleosan "to lose, abandon, let go; destroy, ruin," from for- "completely" + leosan "to lose" (see lose). In the Mercian hymns, Latin perditionis is glossed by Old English forlorenisse.
Sense of "forsaken, abandoned" is 1530s; that of "wretched, miserable" first recorded 1580s. A common Germanic compound (cf. Old Saxon farilosan, Old Frisian urliasa, Middle Dutch verliesen, Dutch verliezen, Old High German virliosan, German verlieren, Gothic fraliusan "to lose").
Commonly in forlorn hope (1570s), which is a partial translation of Dutch verloren hoop, in which hoop means "troop, band," literally "heap," and the sense of the whole phrase is of a suicide mission. The phrase is usually used incorrectly in English, and the misuse has colored the sense of forlorn. Related: Forlornly; forlornness.