great white hope

Idioms & Phrases

great white hope

Something or someone that is expected to succeed. For example, Mark is the great white hope of the international division. This expression dates from the early 1900s, when heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson, who was black, seemed invincible and the term was used for any white opponent who might defeat him. It gained currency as the title of a Broadway play and later (1970) a film. By then it had been transferred to anyone of whom much was expected.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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WordNet
great white hope

noun
someone (or something) expected to achieve great success in a given field; "this company is the great white hope of the nuclear industry's waste management policy" [syn: white hope
WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.
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