2. Destitute; helpless; in pitiful plight; wretched; miserable; almost hopeless; desperate. For here forlorn and lost i tread. (Goldsmith) The condition of the besieged in the mean time was forlorn in the extreme. (Prescott) She cherished the forlorn hope that he was still living. (Thomson) a forlorn hope [D. Verloren hoop, prop, a lost band or troop; verloren, p.p. Of verliezen to lose _ hoop band; akin to E. Heap. See For-, and heap.
a body of men (called in f. Enfants perdus, in g. Verloren posten) selected, usually from volunteers, to attempt a breach, scale the wall of a fortress, or perform other extraordinarily perilous service; also, a desperate case or enterprise.
Origin: oe, p.p. Of forlesen to lose utterly, as. Forleosan (p.p. Forloren); pref. For- _ leosan (in comp) to lose; cf. D. Verliezen to lose, g. Verlieren, Sw. Forlora, dan. Forloren, goth. Fraliusan to lose. See For-, and lorn, lose.