Definition of forlorn in English:



  • 1Pitifully sad and abandoned or lonely.

    ‘forlorn figures at bus stops’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They were forlorn, dejected, and pleading, yet so serenely resolved he was compelled to do as she asked.’
    • ‘When Ruth reached the beach, she saw a forlorn figure sitting near the edge of the sea.’
    • ‘There the Empress stands today, a somewhat forlorn figure.’
    • ‘Hail pelted down on the forlorn figure making her way up an elegant brick path leading up to a cheery little house.’
    • ‘He cut a forlorn figure with no vest and in shoes at least two sizes too big.’
    • ‘I stood a forlorn figure in the dressing-room, the last to get into the bath.’
    • ‘It seemed somehow forlorn and pathetic as if it had been suddenly abandoned.’
    • ‘The New Zealander is a totally different animal to the forlorn figure we saw last season, struggling as he was with injury and confidence.’
    • ‘The lonely letter looked forlorn, sitting like an omen on the smooth, glossy surface.’
    • ‘A pathetically forlorn figure, he set out to destroy all traces of the religion of his ancestors.’
    • ‘When I called, the tiny forlorn figure sat up and reached out towards us.’
    • ‘Considering he has taken a stack of wickets, Murali has cut a surprisingly forlorn figure in this series.’
    • ‘Lately I've been feeling depressed and forlorn, as if my best friend had just died.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The shots were better than good and the swing rhythmic, but the young man in the white shirt still cut rather a forlorn figure.’
    • ‘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.’
    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
    desolate, deserted, abandoned, forsaken, forgotten, neglected
    View synonyms
  • 2(of an aim or endeavor) unlikely to succeed or be fulfilled; hopeless.

    ‘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.’
    • ‘It always would be, even if his object of forlorn piety never saw him the same way again.’
    • ‘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.’
    hopeless, with no chance of success, beyond hope
    View synonyms


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.