If you're hopeful about something, you're optimistic. You think it's going to turn out OK. Your team has been doing well in practice, so you're hopeful that you'll win the finals.

Hopeful comes from the word hope, meaning "optimism about a future event," and the suffix -ful, meaning "full." So if you're hopeful, you're full of hope: you think something good is going to happen. You might be hopeful that you'll be offered a job after your great interview. Used as a noun, hopeful can describe a promising person who wants to succeed at a particular goal. The charismatic young politician is a hopeful for the next election.

Definitions of hopeful
  1. adjective
    having or manifesting hope
    “a line of people hopeful of obtaining tickets”
    “found a hopeful way of attacking the problem”
    giving courage or confidence or hope
    anticipant, anticipative, expectant
    marked by eager anticipation
    expecting the best in this best of all possible worlds
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    without hope because there seems to be no possibility of comfort or success
    depriving of confidence or hope or enthusiasm and hence often deterring action
    abject, unhopeful
    showing utter resignation or hopelessness
    black, bleak, dim
    offering little or no hope
    despairing, desperate
    arising from or marked by despair or loss of hope
    despondent, heartsick
    without or almost without hope
    marked by or showing hopelessness
    having no prospect or hope of a future
    helpless, lost
    unable to function; without help
    without hope of solution
    expecting the worst possible outcome
    not capable of occurring or being accomplished or dealt with
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  2. adjective
    full of promise
    “a hopeful new singer on Broadway”
    synonyms: bright, promising
    auguring favorable circumstances and good luck
  3. noun
    an ambitious and aspiring young person
    “two executive hopefuls joined the firm”
    synonyms: aspirant, aspirer, wannabe, wannabee
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    type of:
    applicant, applier
    a person who requests or seeks something such as assistance or employment or admission
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