- a perilous or desperate enterprise.
- a vain hope.
- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for forlorn hope
Dick Prince was the only one who lost his life in the “forlorn-hope.”Ungava
But Skinflint is an invaluable fellow to lead a forlorn-hope.
For what seemed like an age there was no sign of our forlorn-hope swimmer.Pirates' Hope
No quest is too perilous for him, no forlorn-hope too daring.God and Mr. Wells
Mackinnon had promised a company to the forlorn-hope leader, if he survived.
- a hopeless or desperate enterprise
- a faint hope
- obsolete a group of soldiers assigned to an extremely dangerous duty
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