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adjective sol·i·tary \ˈsä-lə-ˌter-ē\

Simple Definition of solitary

  • : without anyone or anything else : not involving or including anyone or anything else

  • : done by a person who is alone

  • : separate from other people or things

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of solitary

  1. 1a :  being, living, or going alone or without companionsb :  saddened by isolation

  2. 2 :  unfrequented, desolate <a solitary seashore>

  3. 3a :  taken, passed, or performed without companions <a solitary ramble>b :  keeping a prisoner apart from others <solitary confinement>

  4. 4 :  being at once single and isolated <a solitary example>

  5. 5a :  occurring singly and not as part of a group or cluster <flowers terminal and solitary>b :  not gregarious, colonial, social, or compound <solitary bees>


play \ˌsä-lə-ˈter-ə-lē\ adverb


play \ˈsä-lə-ˌter-ē-nəs\ noun

Examples of solitary in a sentence

  1. He took a solitary walk on the beach.

  2. A solitary house stood on top of the cliff.

  3. Most cats are solitary creatures.

  4. He's a very solitary man.

Origin and Etymology of solitary

Middle English, solitarie, from Anglo-French, from Latin solitarius, from solitas aloneness, from solus alone

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of solitary

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>.



noun sol·i·tary

Definition of solitary



  1. 1 :  one who lives or seeks to live a solitary life :  recluse

  2. 2 :  solitary confinement in prison <put him in solitary>

Examples of solitary in a sentence

  1. The prisoner was kept in solitary.

  2. <weary of European civilization, the painter Paul Gauguin famously abandoned France to become a solitary in the South Seas>

15th Century

First Known Use of solitary

15th century

SOLITARY Defined for Kids


adjective sol·i·tary \ˈsä-lə-ˌter-ē\

Definition of solitary for Students

  1. 1 :  all alone :  without anyone or anything else <a solitary traveler>

  2. 2 :  seldom visited :  lonely <a solitary seashore>

  3. 3 :  growing or living alone :  not one of a group or cluster <solitary insects>

Medical Dictionary


adjective sol·i·tary \ˈsäl-ə-ˌter-ē\

Medical Definition of solitary

  1. :  occurring singly and not as part of a group <a solitary lesion>

Seen and Heard

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a dwelling place or home

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