forlorn hope

noun
  1. a perilous or desperate enterprise.
  2. a vain hope.
  3. Obsolete. a group of soldiers assigned to perform some unusually dangerous service.

Origin of forlorn hope

1530–40; folk-etymological alteration of Dutch verloren hoop literally, lost troop
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British Dictionary definitions for forlorn hope

forlorn hope

noun
  1. a hopeless or desperate enterprise
  2. a faint hope
  3. obsolete a group of soldiers assigned to an extremely dangerous duty

Word Origin for forlorn hope

C16 (in the obsolete sense): changed (by folk etymology) from Dutch verloren hoop lost troop, from verloren, past participle of verliezen to lose + hoop troop (literally: heap)
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