forlorn hope


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forlorn hope

1. An undertaking that seems very unlikely to succeed. This plan you have is a forlorn hope and will never work out the way you want.
2. A group of soldiers sent on an extremely dangerous mission. The phrase comes from the Dutch verloren hoop, meaning "lost troop." Have you heard anything from the forlorn hope yet? Did they reach their target?
See also: forlorn, hope

a forlorn hope

a faint remaining hope or chance; a desperate attempt.
This expression developed in the mid 16th century from the Dutch expression verloren hoop ‘lost troop’. The phrase originally denoted a band of soldiers picked to begin an attack, many of whom would not survive; the equivalent French phrase is enfants perdus ‘lost children’. The current sense, which dates from the mid 17th century, arose from a misunderstanding of the etymology.
See also: forlorn, hope
References in periodicals archive ?
This point Mitchell 'named Fort O'Hare in the memory of a truly brave soldier, my Commanding Officer who fell at Badajoz in leading the forlorn hope of the Light Division in the storm'.
By contrast, Rangers go to Stuttgart on Wednesday with only a forlorn hope of making progress.
But this seems a forlorn hope, except for the possibility of a stronger pound, which might go some way to save the day.
No matter how many times our politicians beat us up, lie to us and cheat on us by going to bed with foreign interests and fat cats here at home, we still take them back in the forlorn hope that they will get their act together and start treating us the way they should.
Despite being quoted as a 50-1 outsider he is no forlorn hope.
My fingers were virtually bleeding through pulling at the wire mesh, but it was just a forlorn hope, really, just to try our best.
This cruel and forlorn hope is raised wherever young Asian girls meet.
But McCoy, who was retained by Martin Pipe when landing the award in 1997 and 1998, is no forlorn hope.
Now, with Brady's mind in decline, it seems a forlorn hope.
Indeed, he hardly looked a forlorn hope on his debut at Redcar a few weeks ago when he overcame a sluggish start and showed up well for a long way.
POSSIBLY a forlorn hope, but on the glorious occasion of the Wales win over England at the Millennium Stadium, my cap, and very nearly my umbrella and myself, was blown off into the Taff as I waited to enter the ground on the stadium side.
I hope that it is not a forlorn hope that as the lead director of momentum put it "the principle of momentum and moving care closer to home will continue".
Franco Is My Name is one of the outsiders, but trainer Peter Hedger believes the five-year-old is no forlorn hope.
But if that too proves a forlorn hope, the disappointment may be offset by an announcement about enterprise zones to be set up in the North East.