Friday, May 31, 2013

forlorn hope

A forlorn hope is a band of soldiers or other combatants chosen to take the leading part in a military operation, such as an assault on a defended position, where the risk of casualties is high. The term comes from the Dutch verloren hoop, literally "lost heap", and adapted as "lost troop". In present-day Dutch the only meaning is lost hope. The old Dutch word hoop (in its sense of heap in English) is not cognate with English hope: this is an example of false folk etymology.

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