for·lorn (fər-lôrn, fôr-)
a. Abandoned, deserted, or desolate: "my high school chums ... enjoying cider and doughnuts ... while I was trapped up on that forlorn mountain" (Howard Frank Mosher).
b. Sad or lonely, especially from being deserted or abandoned: "waved them goodbye from the door like forlorn parents waving off a honeymoon couple" (Anne Bartlett).
c. Suggesting or characterized by sadness or loneliness: the forlorn whistle of a train in the night.
d. Wretched or pitiful in appearance or condition: people living in forlorn shacks.
2. Bereft or deprived: forlorn of all hope.
3. Nearly hopeless; desperate: a forlorn acknowledgment of failure.
[Middle English forloren, past participle of forlesen, to abandon, from Old English forlēosan; see leu- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus