1. This has been used since the 17c as a straightforward adverb of manner:

• As lovers do, as lovers will, they travelled hopefully to Paris —Maurice Gee, 1985

• Out on the corridor, Nurse Bodkin was hovering hopefully near a suspended piece of mistletoe —E. McGrath, 1990.

According to the evidence of the OED, the controversial use of hopefully as a sentence adverb sprang up, after an isolated use in 1932, in the 1960s, first in AmE and almost immediately in BrE:

• We asked her when she expected to move into her new apartment, and she answered, ‘Hopefully on Tuesday.’ —New Yorker, 1965

• I want a bigger range to choose from and hopefully this role will help me —S. Stone, 1989

• He is buried with his mammy and hopefully they are together —Sunday Mirror, 2007.

2. Like thankfully, hopefully stands apart from the routine sentence adverbs clearly, frankly, happily, luckily, normally, sadly, unfortunately, etc., because the rationale of its formation differs and it cannot be resolved grammatically into a phrase such as in a hopeful way or to a hopeful extent. The argument based on ambiguity, however, is less compelling; sentences of the type They are working hopefully towards a solution of the problem will normally be clear enough either from intonation (in speech) or from context. For more on this issue in its context, see sentence adverbs.
3. These meanings of hopefully and thankfully are well established and are here to stay but strong rearguard actions continue to be fought over them. Bear in mind that hopefully, in particular, can sound irritating.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hopefully — Hope ful*ly, adv. 1. In a hopeful manner. [PJC] 2. I hope; if all goes well; as, hopefully, the dress will be ready before the party. Note: Some prescriptivists object to this usage as being ungrammatical, but it is very common and well… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hopefully — hopefully; un·hopefully; …   English syllables

  • hopefully — ► ADVERB 1) in a hopeful manner. 2) it is to be hoped that. USAGE The traditional sense of hopefully is ‘in a hopeful manner’. In the 20th century a new use arose, with the meaning ‘it is to be hoped that’. Although this newer use is now very… …   English terms dictionary

  • hopefully — [hōp′fəl ē] adv. 1. in a hopeful manner 2. it is to be hoped (that) [to leave early, hopefully by six] …   English World dictionary

  • hopefully — 1630s, in a hopeful manner, from HOPEFUL (Cf. hopeful) + LY (Cf. ly) (2). As a replacement for the admittedly awkward it is to be hoped that attested from 1932 but avoided by careful writers …   Etymology dictionary

  • hopefully — adverb 1) he rode on hopefully Syn: optimistically, full of hope, confidently, buoyantly, sanguinely; expectantly 2) hopefully it will finish soon Syn: if all goes well, God willing, with luck, with any luck; most l …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • hopefully —     To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive. Seventy or eighty years ago that sentence by Robert Louis Stevenson would have suggested only one interpretation: that it is better to travel filled with hope than to actually reach your… …   Dictionary of troublesome word

  • hopefully — /hohp feuh lee/, adv. 1. in a hopeful manner: We worked hopefully and energetically, thinking we might finish first. 2. it is hoped; if all goes well: Hopefully, we will get to the show on time. [1630 40; HOPEFUL + LY] Usage. Although some… …   Universalium

  • hopefully — adverb Date: 1593 1. in a hopeful manner 2. it is hoped ; I hope ; we hope < hopefully the rain will end soon > Usage: In the 1960s the second sense of hopefully, which dates to the early 18th century and had been in fairly widespread use since… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • hopefully — [[t]ho͟ʊpfʊli[/t]] ADV: ADV with cl/group You say hopefully when mentioning something that you hope will happen. Some careful speakers of English think that this use of hopefully is not correct, but it is very frequently used. Both of them have… …   English dictionary

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