full of hope; expressing hope: His hopeful words stimulated optimism.
exciting hope; promising advantage or success: a hopeful prospect.


a person who shows promise or aspires to success: the Democratic presidential hopeful.

Origin of hopeful

First recorded in 1560–70; hope + -ful
Related formshope·ful·ness, nounun·hope·ful, adjectiveun·hope·ful·ly, adverb

Synonyms for hopeful

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hopeful

Contemporary Examples of hopeful

Historical Examples of hopeful

  • We are bound to be hopeful, nor wrong our great-hearted father.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • One of whom she had been hopeful, had disappeared—it was supposed with another man's wife.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • She leaned over and kissed her father in a hopeful, pretty way.


    W. A. Fraser

  • Here the Union men were hopeful, but the news from the East was bad.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • When that is removed, I am hopeful that we can take him without bloodshed.

British Dictionary definitions for hopeful



having or expressing hope
giving or inspiring hope; promising


a person considered to be on the brink of success (esp in the phrase a young hopeful)
Derived Formshopefulness, 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

Word Origin and History for hopeful

c.1200, from hope + -ful. As a noun, "one on whom hopes are set," from 1720. Related: Hopefulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper