[ hohp-lis ]
See synonyms for: hopelesshopelesslyhopelessness on Thesaurus.com

  1. providing no hope; beyond optimism or hope; desperate: a hopeless cancer diagnosis.

  2. without hope; despairing: hopeless grief.

  1. impossible to accomplish, solve, resolve, etc.: Balancing my budget is hopeless.

  2. not able to perform, work, learn, or act as desired; inadequate for the purpose: As a poker player, you're hopeless.

Origin of hopeless

First recorded in 1560–70; hope + -less

synonym study For hopeless

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 his failing career, he fell back into substance and alcohol use. At the end of her marriage, 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.

Other words for hopeless

Other words from hopeless

  • hope·less·ly, adverb
  • hope·less·ness, noun

Words Nearby hopeless

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use hopeless in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for hopeless


/ (ˈhəʊplɪs) /

  1. having or offering no hope

  2. impossible to analyse or solve

  1. unable to learn, function, etc

  2. informal without skill or ability

Derived forms of hopeless

  • 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