if something that you try to do is hopeless, there is no possibility of it being successful:
We tried to stop the flames from spreading, but we knew it was hopeless.
Getting your work published often seems a hopeless task.
I kept on struggling forward, even though I knew it was hopeless.
a hopeless situation is so bad that there is no chance of success or improvement:
The situation is not as hopeless as it might seem.
the millions who live in hopeless poverty
3 especially British English informal
very bad [= terrible]:
I'm a hopeless cook.
hopeless at (doing) something
My brother was always pretty hopeless at ball games.
I'm hopeless with machinery.
I've got a hopeless memory.
The public transport system was absolutely hopeless.
feeling no hope:
I began to feel lonely and hopeless.
used, often humorously, to say that someone's bad behaviour cannot be changed:
Oh, James, you really are a hopeless case (=it seems impossible to change your behaviour)!
hopeless romantic/materialist/drunk etc
She was a hopeless romantic, always convinced that one day she would meet the man of her dreams.
—hopelessness noun [uncountable]WORD FOCUS: bad
very bad: awful, terrible, horrible, lousy informal, appalling, ghastly, atrocious, horrendous
bad, but not very bad: not very good, mediocre, second-rate, so-so, lacklustre
of bad quality: shoddy, inferior, poor quality, cheap, crummy informal
bad at doing something: be no good at something
very bad at doing something: hopeless, terrible, useless, lousy informal, incompetent
morally bad: evil, wicked, immoral, corrupt, sick, perverted, degenerate
➔ See also bad