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 unhopeful

Historical Examples of unhopeful

  • With Bacon's death there fell to pieces all this hopeful or unhopeful movement.

  • And in this unhopeful frame of mind he dropped off in sleep.

    Being a Boy

    Charles Dudley Warner

  • "I will go and see," and I ran out again, still not unhopeful.

    Carette of Sark

    John Oxenham

  • Now, in the most unhopeful struggle it is often the thing least hoped for that comes to pass.

    A Fool For Love

    Francis Lynde

  • I am all unhopeful, all unpeaceful, all a desperate Languor and a tragic Futileness: I am an unspeakably untoward thing.

    I, Mary MacLane

    Mary MacLane

British Dictionary definitions for unhopeful



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 unhopeful



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper