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

forlorn hope

An undertaking with little chance of success; a lost cause. This expression, while seemingly quite straightforward in English, actually came from a Dutch term of the late sixteenth century, verloren hoop, which meant “a lost troop of soldiers,” that is, an expendable squad. The British mistook hoop for hope and changed the meaning to a desperate undertaking, which has persisted since the seventeenth century.
See also: forlorn, hope
References in periodicals archive ?
So much so that it is traditional for outgoing presidents to see out their last months shuttling around the Middle East in the always forlorn hope that their 'nothing to lose' end-ofterm straight-talking could achieve what their predecessors could not.
I am not talking in forlorn hope but in spiritual fact." Jesus entered the world as the new beginning of the Kingdom of God and came to demonstrate the Power of the Kingdom.
But, even the forlorn hope of a consolation goal went sailing away on the wind whenMerthyr'sMike Jones became the second Martyr to be sent off after a clash with Poole goalkeeper Mark Jones on 75minutes.
The best bet here is a book by J Kitzmiller, titled 'In Search of the Forlorn Hope: A Comprehensive Guide to Locating British Regiments and Their Records'.
Post-9/11, Kaern reads a news story quoting an Afghan teen as longing one day to fly professionally--a forlorn hope, perhaps, given the country's chaos and religious conservatism toward women's freedoms.
Martin O'Neill is clearly stalling in the forlorn hope that he'll get the England job and I'd much rather have Roeder - at least he is passionate about the club.
The extract from The Sharpe Companion on the role of the Forlorn Hope, which appeared in the December 2003 issue of Sabretache, recalls Australian connections with the Forlorn Hope at one of the most famous, and bloodiest, actions of the Peninsular War--the assault on the breach of the fortress city of Badajoz on the night of 6 April 1812.
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.
By contrast, Rangers go to Stuttgart on Wednesday with only a forlorn hope of making progress.
That there could be a grown-up agreement on a common position between the SNP leader and the Tory PM was a forlorn hope.
Despite being quoted as a 50-1 outsider he is no forlorn hope.
A POLICE officer told the Hillsborough inquests of his "forlorn hope" as he tried to help a mum-of-two through the fencing of the pens.
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.