Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Lack of hope; hopelessness; despair.
  • n. Vain hope; delusion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Want of hope; despair; also, faint or delusive hope; delusion. [Obs.] Piers Plowman.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Lack of hope; hopelessness; despair.
  • n. Vain hope; delusion.

Etymologies

From Middle English, equivalent to wan- +‎ hope. Cognate with Scots wanhop, wanhope ("wanhope, despair"), West Frisian wanhope ("wanhope, despair"), Dutch wanhoop ("despair"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The suspense began to diminish into "wanhope" or despair; and the brothers and sisters continued to say that they were sorry above all for Phyllis, whose gentle sweetness had made her one with them.

    Modern Broods

  • 'wanhope' than any of them; but they had to live on, and rise morning after morning without expecting any intelligence, unable to do anything but pray for those who might be in perils unknown.

    Unknown to History: a story of the captivity of Mary of Scotland

  • And she hath found me my love, thy brother Arthur, and delivered him from unwit and wanhope; and she it is who drew all you hither unto us, and who delivered you from the felons who had mastered you.

    The Water of the Wondrous Isles

  • And now I will go away for a little, but I shall be on thine errands; for first I shall tell the mistress that thou art lying here shackled and in all wanhope; and next, by the will and command of her, I am to see that thou be well fed and nourished today that thou mayst be the stronger for tomorrow.

    The Water of the Wondrous Isles

  • I was just thinkling upon that, swees Mooksey, but, for all the rime on my raisins, if I connow make my submission, I can-nos give you up, the Gripes whimpered from nethermost of his wanhope.

    Finnegans Wake

  • And there be certain men in every town that serve of none other thing; and they clepe them cadeberiz, that is to say, the fools of wanhope.

    The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

  • So stood they there both awhile in wanhope sorrowing one with other.

    Ulysses

  • Ah, Bors, discomfort you not, nor fall into no wanhope; for I shall tell you tidings such as they be, for truly he is dead.

    Le Morte d'Arthur: Sir Thomas Malory's book of King Arthur and of his noble knights of the Round table

  • Oh Harolde, heere forstraughteynge [53] wanhope [54] lies.

    The Rowley Poems

  • Ah, Bors, discomfort you not, nor fall into no wanhope, for I shall tell you tidings such as they be, for truly he is dead.

    Chronicle and Romance (The Harvard Classics Series)

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Comments

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  • As far as I can see, the wan hope that Argentina have o' makin' it into next year's World Cup is if they win all their remaining qualleyfying matches.

    September 13, 2009

  • "Sir, said he, I seek my brother that I saw within a while beaten with two knights. Ah, Bors discomfort you not, nor fall into no wanhope, for I shall tell you tidings such as they be, for truly he is dead."
    - Thomas Malory, 'The Holy Grail'.

    September 13, 2009