/hohp"lis/, adj.1. providing no hope; beyond optimism or hope; desperate: a hopeless case of cancer.2. without hope; despairing: hopeless grief.3. impossible to accomplish, solve, resolve, etc.: Balancing my budget is hopeless.4. not able to learn or act, perform, or work as desired; inadequate for the purpose: As a bridge player, you're hopeless.[1560-70; HOPE + -LESS]Syn. 1. irremediable, remediless, incurable. 2. forlorn, disconsolate, dejected. HOPELESS, DESPAIRING, DESPONDENT, DESPERATE all describe an absence of hope. HOPELESS is used of a feeling of futility and passive abandonment of oneself to fate: Hopeless and grim, he still clung to the cliff. DESPAIRING refers to the loss of hope in regard to a particular situation, whether important or trivial; it suggests an intellectual judgment concerning probabilities: despairing of victory; despairing of finding his gloves.DESPONDENT always suggests melancholy and depression; it refers to an emotional state rather than to an intellectual judgment: Despondent over ill health, he killed himself. She became despondent and suspicious. DESPERATE conveys a suggestion of recklessness resulting from loss of hope: As the time grew shorter, he became desperate. It may also refer to something arising from extreme need or danger: a desperate remedy; a desperate situation. DESPAIRING and DESPONDENT may apply only to feelings.
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