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 ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.