Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having no hope; despairing. See Synonyms at despondent.
  • adj. Offering no hope; bleak.
  • adj. Incurable.
  • adj. Having no possibility of solution; impossible.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Destitute of hope; having no expectation of good; despairing.
  • adj. Giving no ground of hope; promising nothing desirable; desperate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Destitute of hope; having no expectation of good; despairing.
  • adj. Giving no ground of hope; promising nothing desirable; desperate.
  • adj. Unhoped for; despaired of.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Without hope; having no expectation of gaining or attaining the thing desired; despairing.
  • Affording no ground of hope or expectation of good; despaired of: as, a hopeless case; a hopeless scamp.
  • Unhoped for; unexpected.
  • Synonyms Desponding, discouraged.
  • Incurable, irremediable, incorrigible, irreparable.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. certain to fail
  • adj. of a person unable to do something skillfully
  • adj. without hope because there seems to be no possibility of comfort or success
  • adj. (informal to emphasize how bad it is) beyond hope of management or reform

Etymologies

hope +‎ -less (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I am going to begin over with what you call the hopeless experiment -- and even now I think I have a chance ... a fighting chance of winning.

    The Tyranny of Weakness

  • Minister of War, offered to proceed to Khartoum, but when he discovered that the abandonment of the Soudan was to be proclaimed, he absolutely refused on any consideration to carry out what he termed a hopeless errand.

    The Life of Gordon, Volume II

  • Heaven help us to survive the hostility that has permeated our country with true understanding of issues and compassion for those in hopeless situations.

    A pricey proposal

  • Violent crime and murders escalate and most people end up living in hopeless ghettos as the middle class disappears.

    Matthew Yglesias » Budget Doom

  • Why should the general public remain hopeless while medical bureaucrats fiddle and fuss over how much evidence is enough to merit promoting healthy endeavors like exercising, eating well, using our brains and taking care of our general health -- things which might also lessen the risk of Alzheimer's?

    Jean Carper: What's Going on With Alzheimer's Coverage in the Media?

  • You will consider her remark very telling of a viewpoint that you characterize as hopeless, but you will say nothing.

    What You Catch a Glimpse of, Forget As Soon

  • Perhaps we should start a B list - people who are happy to be candidates in hopeless seats where not much will be asked of them, save not having media juicy problems, being prepard to turn up for a pamplet photo and the count and not being off message should a newspaper phone you.

    EXCLUSIVE: David Davis to Take on BNP

  • Feelings to love or guilt impel families to demand all-out medical care in hopeless cases.

    No More Aspirin, Please

  • African immigrants are routinely burnt to death in hopeless conditions.

    The scandal of Katrina « BuzzMachine

  • American POWs are dying in hopeless despair in enemy hands.

    Bednarek, Johnathan B.

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