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90s Slang You Should Know


[hohp-lis] /ˈhoʊp lɪs/
providing no hope; beyond optimism or hope; desperate:
a hopeless case of cancer.
without hope; despairing:
hopeless grief.
impossible to accomplish, solve, resolve, etc.:
Balancing my budget is hopeless.
not able to learn or act, perform, or work as desired; inadequate for the purpose:
As a bridge player, you're hopeless.
Origin of hopeless
First recorded in 1560-70; hope + -less
Related forms
hopelessly, adverb
hopelessness, noun
1. irremediable, remediless, incurable. 2. forlorn, disconsolate, dejected.
Synonym Study
2.Hopeless, despairing, despondent, desperate all describe an absence of hope. Hopeless is used of a feeling of futility and passive abandonment of oneself to fate: Hopeless and grim, he still clung to the cliff. Despairing refers to the loss of hope in regard to a particular situation, whether important or trivial; it suggests an intellectual judgment concerning probabilities: despairing of victory; despairing of finding his gloves. Despondent always suggests melancholy and depression; it refers to an emotional state rather than to an intellectual judgment: Despondent over ill health, he killed himself. She became despondent and suspicious. Desperate conveys a suggestion of recklessness resulting from loss of hope: As the time grew shorter, he became desperate. It may also refer to something arising from extreme need or danger: a desperate remedy; a desperate situation. See also despair. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hopelessness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I should have felt no reproach or misgiving had it been otherwise, but his apparent giving up, and hopelessness, touched me.

    Juggernaut George Cary Eggleston
  • Shame, misery, hopelessness—he did not know which emotion was stinging him most poignantly.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • The hopelessness of the case struck a chill through all our hearts.

    Peter the Whaler W.H.G. Kingston
  • In the big man's eyes, bitterness and hopelessness glittered.

    Wizard Laurence Mark Janifer (AKA Larry M. Harris)
  • All his old cynicism and hopelessness reasserted themselves.

    The Man Who Rose Again Joseph Hocking
British Dictionary definitions for hopelessness


having or offering no hope
impossible to analyse or solve
unable to learn, function, etc
(informal) without skill or ability
Derived Forms
hopelessly, adverb
hopelessness, noun
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 hopelessness



1560s, from hope (n.) + -less. Related: Hopelessly; hopelessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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