Definition of forlorn in English:



  • 1Pitifully sad and abandoned or lonely:

    ‘forlorn figures at bus stops’
    • ‘It seemed somehow forlorn and pathetic as if it had been suddenly abandoned.’
    • ‘Hail pelted down on the forlorn figure making her way up an elegant brick path leading up to a cheery little house.’
    • ‘There the Empress stands today, a somewhat forlorn figure.’
    • ‘The New Zealander is a totally different animal to the forlorn figure we saw last season, struggling as he was with injury and confidence.’
    • ‘When Ruth reached the beach, she saw a forlorn figure sitting near the edge of the sea.’
    • ‘A pathetically forlorn figure, he set out to destroy all traces of the religion of his ancestors.’
    • ‘The shots were better than good and the swing rhythmic, but the young man in the white shirt still cut rather a forlorn figure.’
    • ‘They were forlorn, dejected, and pleading, yet so serenely resolved he was compelled to do as she asked.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, this daft, complex and slightly forlorn figure is set to become one of rap's martyrs.’
    • ‘Friends tell me Paul has been seen walking his dog around the Heath, looking rather forlorn and lonely.’
    • ‘This is the tale of a lonely and forlorn Scotsman, who somehow managed to get himself separated from his drinking companions, and lost in a strange city.’
    • ‘Considering he has taken a stack of wickets, Murali has cut a surprisingly forlorn figure in this series.’
    • ‘The lonely letter looked forlorn, sitting like an omen on the smooth, glossy surface.’
    • ‘He cut a forlorn figure with no vest and in shoes at least two sizes too big.’
    • ‘When I called, the tiny forlorn figure sat up and reached out towards us.’
    • ‘Lately I've been feeling depressed and forlorn, as if my best friend had just died.’
    • ‘Seeing him sat there all alone like that was kind of sad - he looked so lonely and forlorn.’
    • ‘Mark took one last look at the forlorn figure of Tina sitting at the table he had just abruptly left.’
    • ‘I stood a forlorn figure in the dressing-room, the last to get into the bath.’
    • ‘His harrying of the opposition robbed Chelsea of time on the ball and he looked a million miles removed from the forlorn figure so often seen this season.’
    desolate, deserted, abandoned, forsaken, forgotten, neglected
    unhappy, sad, miserable, sorrowful, dejected, despondent, disconsolate, wretched, abject, morose, regretful, broken-hearted, heartbroken, down, downcast, dispirited, downhearted, heavy-hearted, crestfallen, depressed, melancholy, blue, gloomy, glum, mournful, despairing, doleful, woebegone, woeful, tearful, long-faced, joyless, cheerless, out of sorts
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  • 2(of an aim or endeavour) unlikely to succeed or be fulfilled:

    ‘a forlorn attempt to escape’
    • ‘Archaeologists think it may have been built in a forlorn attempt to stave off the effects of climate change 5,000 years ago.’
    • ‘Any such effort would be forlorn, for O'Neill is staying put in Britain.’
    • ‘The ragtag Republican forces, resisting him in their forlorn fight against fascism, had encircled the town.’
    • ‘The bikers have started burning them down at night in a forlorn attempt to hold back the waves of progress that Phoenix is attracting with its golf courses.’
    • ‘It always would be, even if his object of forlorn piety never saw him the same way again.’
    hopeless, with no chance of success, beyond hope
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Old English forloren ‘depraved, morally abandoned’, past participle of forlēosan ‘lose’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch verliezen and German verlieren, and ultimately to for- and lose. forlorn dates from the 16th century.