L. L. Zamenhof used "doktoro esperanto" as a pseudonym, where esperanto meaning "one who hopes," the present nominal participle of esperi, meaning "to hope" This eventually lead to "Esperanto" being the name of the language. This might lead to strange sentences akin to English's police police police police.:

Esperanto esperas esperanton en Esperanto.

My question is: how often is esperanto used in the context of "one who hopes," rather than the language? Is this meaning of the word avoided?

2 Answers 2


My impression is that it's not used very much as a noun (esper-ant-o) - and a search in the Tekstaro shows that most of the usages of esperanto in lower case are actually references to Esperanto, not people who hope.

A very famous exception is from the poem La Espero:

Sub la sankta signo de l' espero kolektiĝas pacaj batalantoj,

kaj rapide kreskas la afero per laboro de la esperantoj.


I find that I more often want to use the word in another form, such as esperante or esperanta. For example:

Mi parolis esperante ke ŝi komprenus.

This ends up making a garden path sentence because at first reading one might think the speaker is saying they spoke in esperanto, but the second half of the phrase only makes sense if the meaning is “hoping that she would understand”.

I don’t think this usage is particularily uncommon. Here are some examples from the Tekstaro:

li prenis la senvivan virinon kaj metis ŝin en sian varman liton, esperante, ke eble li per tio denove ŝin revivigos


kiel do malprudenta mi estis, esperante de mi mem grandajn aferojn!

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