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forlorn

[fawr-lawrn] /fɔrˈlɔrn/
adjective
1.
desolate or dreary; unhappy or miserable, as in feeling, condition, or appearance.
2.
lonely and sad; forsaken.
3.
expressive of hopelessness; despairing:
forlorn glances.
4.
bereft; destitute:
forlorn of comfort.
Origin of forlorn
1150
before 1150; Middle English foreloren (past participle of forlesen to lose completely), Old English forloren (past participle of forlēosan); cognate with Old High German firliosan (German verlieren), Gothic fraliusan. See for-, lorn
Related forms
forlornly, adverb
forlornness, noun
unforlorn, adjective
Synonyms
1. pitiful, pitiable, helpless, woebegone, comfortless. 2. alone, lost, solitary. 4. deprived.
Antonyms
1. happy. 2. accompanied.
Synonym Study
2. See desolate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for forlorn
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She had had a forlorn hope that he would throw down the sheet; but he did not.

  • 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 Alice Brown
  • That he might be; but he was not so forlorn as to roam away and leave them together.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
British Dictionary definitions for forlorn

forlorn

/fəˈlɔːn/
adjective
1.
miserable, wretched, or cheerless; desolate
2.
deserted; forsaken
3.
(postpositive) foll by of. destitute; bereft: forlorn of hope
4.
desperate: the last forlorn attempt
Derived Forms
forlornly, adverb
forlornness, noun
Word Origin
Old English forloren lost, from forlēosan to lose; related to Old Saxon farliosan, Gothic fraliusan, Greek luein to release
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for forlorn
adj.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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