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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2005-10-30 13:25:36

Paul Nance
From: Albany, New York, USA
Registered: 2005-10-29
Posts: 2

“forlorn hope”: cross-language, hidden and mainstream?

Is this an eggcorn? And if so, what category or categories?

Originally from Dutch “verloren hoop” literally a lost troop, a military unit sent to draw enemy fire so that a second attack can succeed before the enemy reloads. It’s use as “a vain hope,” is widespread, and that is the first definition in the reliable Random House Dictionary of the English Language (c. 1966-1967), which marks the historical definition as obsolete. The OED, on the other hand, says that the sense “faint hope” is used “[w]ith word-play or misapprehension of the etymology…”

Oberlin Alumni Magazine, volume 96, number 2 (fall 2000)
“In the top of the ninth, with Cleveland about to lose another game, a relief pitcher called Stanton was trying to prevent the opposing team going more than six runs ahead, in the forlorn hope that Cleveland could score seven runs in the bottom of the ninth.” … ses03.html

“Were I her age, and had I met her in 1880, I might have fallen in love, and clung to an unfounded and forlorn hope that she could learn to love me.” … stics.html

“The gang lost their chance to catch a plane out of Ontario. Now Crazy Dog’s come through for them once again. They hope he’ll help them all get home. But is it a forlorn hope?” … at174.html



#2 2005-10-31 17:17:38

Chris Waigl
Eggcorn Faerie
From: London, UK
Registered: 2005-10-14
Posts: 115

Re: “forlorn hope”: cross-language, hidden and mainstream?

Interesting. The original sense seems to have survived as a name for a betting strategy. Otherwise, I seem to find nealy exclusively references in texts on military history.

You’d be right about the classification hidden/cross-language/nearly mainstream.



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