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[hohp] /hoʊp/
the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best:
to give up hope.
a particular instance of this feeling:
the hope of winning.
grounds for this feeling in a particular instance:
There is little or no hope of his recovery.
a person or thing in which expectations are centered:
The medicine was her last hope.
something that is hoped for:
Her forgiveness is my constant hope.
verb (used with object), hoped, hoping.
to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.
to believe, desire, or trust:
I hope that my work will be satisfactory.
verb (used without object), hoped, hoping.
to feel that something desired may happen:
We hope for an early spring.
Archaic. to place trust; rely (usually followed by in).
hope against hope, to continue to hope, although the outlook does not warrant it:
We are hoping against hope for a change in her condition.
Origin of hope
before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English hopa; cognate with Dutch hoop, German Hoffe; (v.) Middle English hopen, Old English hopian
Related forms
hoper, noun
hopingly, adverb
self-hope, noun
unhoping, adjective
unhopingly, adverb
1. expectancy, longing. 8. See expect. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hope against hope
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He bore this like a hero, as he was, and continued to hope against hope.

    Daring and Suffering: William Pittenger
  • That is known only to One who has encouraged us to ‘hope against hope.’

  • On he walked sullenly, desperately striving to hope against hope.

    Beatrice H. Rider Haggard
  • "hope against hope," the big man answered, with a shrug and a laugh.

    The Long Night Stanley Weyman
  • I hope against hope that I'll find what I'm searching for there, but I am skeptical.

    Ben Blair Will Lillibridge
  • That is known only to One who has encouraged us to 'hope against hope.'

  • Still, there were always a few refined and well-paying guests who encouraged me to hope against hope.

    My Austrian Love

    Maxime Provost
British Dictionary definitions for hope against hope


(sometimes pl) a feeling of desire for something and confidence in the possibility of its fulfilment: his hope for peace was justified, their hopes were dashed
a reasonable ground for this feeling: there is still hope
a person or thing that gives cause for hope
a thing, situation, or event that is desired: my hope is that prices will fall
not a hope, some hope, used ironically to express little confidence that expectations will be fulfilled
(transitive; takes a clause as object or an infinitive) to desire (something) with some possibility of fulfilment: we hope you can come, I hope to tell you
(intransitive) often foll by for. to have a wish (for a future event, situation, etc)
(transitive; takes a clause as object) to trust, expect, or believe: we hope that this is satisfactory
Derived Forms
hoper, noun
Word Origin
Old English hopa; related to Old Frisian hope, Dutch hoop, Middle High German hoffe


Anthony, real name Sir Anthony Hope Hawkins. 1863–1933, English novelist; author of The Prisoner of Zenda (1894)
Bob, real name Leslie Townes Hope. 1903–2003, US comedian and comic actor, born in England. His films include The Cat and the Canary (1939), Road to Morocco (1942), and The Paleface (1947). He was awarded an honorary knighthood in 1998
David (Michael). Baron. born 1940, British churchman, Archbishop of York (1995–2005)
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 hope against hope



Old English hopian "wish, expect, look forward (to something)," of unknown origin, a general North Sea Germanic word (cf. Old Frisian hopia, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch, Dutch hopen; Middle High German hoffen "to hope," borrowed from Low German). Some suggest a connection with hop (v.) on the notion of "leaping in expectation" [Klein]. Related: Hoped; hoping.



Old English hopa, from hope (v.). Cf. Old Frisian and Middle Dutch hope, Dutch hoop, all from their respective verbs.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with hope against hope

hope against hope

Hope or wish for with little reason or justification, as in I'm hoping against hope that someone will return my wallet. This expression, based on the biblical “Who against hope believed in hope” (Romans 4:18), was first recorded in 1813.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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