forlorn hope

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forlorn hope

n.
1. An arduous or nearly hopeless undertaking.
2. An advance guard of troops sent on a hazardous mission.

[By folk etymology from Dutch verloren hoop, advance guard : verloren, past participle of verliezen, to lose; see leu- in Indo-European roots + hoop, troop.]

forlorn hope

n
1. a hopeless or desperate enterprise
2. a faint hope
3. (Military) obsolete a group of soldiers assigned to an extremely dangerous duty
[C16 (in the obsolete sense): changed (by folk etymology) from Dutch verloren hoop lost troop, from verloren, past participle of verliezen to lose + hoop troop (literally: heap)]

forlorn′ hope′


n.
1. a perilous or desperate enterprise.
2. a vain hope.
3. Obs. a group of soldiers assigned to perform some unusually dangerous service.
[1530–40]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.forlorn hope - a hopeless or desperate enterprise
endeavor, endeavour, enterprise - a purposeful or industrious undertaking (especially one that requires effort or boldness); "he had doubts about the whole enterprise"