a 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 ?
But Roddy Davidson, an analyst at Altium Securities, said this was 'a forlorn hope'.
We know it is a forlorn hope but we will give it a try.
We know it is a forlorn hope - but we will give it a try.
But that's a forlorn hope. Former prime ministers Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien have stacked the appeal courts with so many dogmatic gay-rights ideologues that an appellant in a case like Kempling's is exceedingly unlikely to get a fair hearing.
Tour manager Phil Neale said: "Having got some play on the fourth day we were hopeful of a full day when we could still produce some interesting cricket, but when we awoke to constant rain, we knew that it was a forlorn hope. It was a frustrating end to the match.
Good luck to the new search teams but it seems a forlorn hope.
At present that looks a forlorn hope but if our political leaders had to travel to care homes beyond Bristol or Swansea to visit their loved ones then maybe something would be done pretty sharpish.
That is, as today's Mirror-GMTV poll shows, a forlorn hope. The chance of a villain being caught and taken to court, let alone found guilty, is remote.
THE prospect of a fourth gold medal for Denise Lewis in the women's heptathlon looked a forlorn hope today.
It seemed a forlorn hope just five minutes earlier when David Crawley put the home side ahead.