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Re: Hope against hope

Posted by R. Berg on April 03, 2001

In Reply to: Re: Hope against hope posted by ESC on April 02, 2001

: : Hope against Hope. We all know the meaning, but what's the origin and how to understand the construction?

: HOPE AGAINST HOPE -- "To want something keenly even when the odds against getting or achieving it are enormous. The phrase derives from the Bible (Romans 4:18): Saint Paul is writing about Abraham, 'Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken.'" From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).

: To hope even when a situation is hopeless. Hope even when one is abandoned by hope. Anyone else have any ideas?

The Oxford English Dictionary has 19 definitions for "against." Not one of them makes sense when applied to this phrase.
What if we all start saying "hope against reality" instead?