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adjective, lone·ly \ˈlōn-lē\

Simple Definition of lonely

  • : sad from being apart from other people

  • : causing sad feelings that come from being apart from other people

  • : not visited by or traveled on by many people

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of lonely


  1. 1 a :  being without company :  lone b :  cut off from others :  solitary

  2. 2 :  not frequented by human beings :  desolate

  3. 3 :  sad from being alone :  lonesome

  4. 4 :  producing a feeling of bleakness or desolation

loneliness play \ˈlōn-lē-nəs\ noun

Examples of lonely in a sentence

  1. He was lonely without his wife and children.

  2. She was a lonely child with few friends.

  3. It was lonely living out in the country.

  4. She spent too many lonely nights at home.

  5. She had a lonely childhood.

  6. a lonely spot in the woods

  7. a lonely stretch of road

Circa 1598

First Known Use of lonely

circa 1598

Synonym Discussion of lonely

alone, solitary, lonely, lonesome, lone, forlorn, desolate mean isolated from others. alone stresses the objective fact of being by oneself with slighter notion of emotional involvement than most of the remaining terms <everyone needs to be alone sometimes>. solitary may indicate isolation as a chosen course <glorying in the calm of her solitary life> but more often it suggests sadness and a sense of loss <left solitary by the death of his wife>. lonely adds to solitary a suggestion of longing for companionship <felt lonely and forsaken>. lonesome heightens the suggestion of sadness and poignancy <an only child often leads a lonesome life>. lone may replace lonely or lonesome but typically is as objective as alone <a lone robin pecking at the lawn>. forlorn stresses dejection, woe, and listlessness at separation from one held dear <a forlorn lost child>. desolate implies inconsolable grief at loss or bereavement <desolate after her brother's death>.

Rhymes with lonely

LONELY Defined for Kids


adjective lone·ly \ˈlōn-lē\

Definition of lonely for Students


  1. 1 :  lone 1 <I saw a lonely figure in the distance.>

  2. 2 :  not often visited <a lonely spot>

  3. 3 :  sad from being alone :  lonesome <a lonely child>

  4. 4 :  producing sad feelings from being alone <I spent a lonely evening at home.>

loneliness noun

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up lonely? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the range of perception or understanding

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