free solo

plural free solos

Definition of free solo

 (Entry 1 of 2)

rock climbing
: a climb in which a climber uses no artificial aids for support and has no rope or other safety equipment for protection in case of a fall Before attempting his free solo of Moonlight Buttress, [Alex] Honnold rehearsed the most challenging pitch on rope repeatedly, until he had memorized each move.— Nathaniel Rich He's attempting to do something that professional rock climbers have long thought was impossible—a "free solo" ascent of the world's most iconic cliff. That means he is alone and climbing without a rope as he inches his way up more than half a mile of sheer rock.— Mark Synnott

free solo

variants: or free-solo \ ˈfrē-​ˈsō-​(ˌ)lō How to pronounce free-solo (audio) \
free soloed or free-soloed; free soloing or free-soloing; free soloes or free-soloes

Definition of free solo (Entry 2 of 2)

rock climbing
: to perform a free solo climb of a rock face, climbing route, etc. : to climb without the use of artificial aids or safety equipment A group of climbers was hanging out near the edge of the west face. One, Scott Burk, was a well-known big-wall climber who had recently become one of six people to successfully free-solo the Nose, El Cap's highest point.— Janet Reitman "When I free-solo, I personally only do climbs I've climbed before," [Austen] McNulty said.— Tim Drugan-Eppich

Other Words from free solo


free soloist noun, plural free soloists
Aside from good sneakers and a bit of friction-inducing chalk on the palms, there is nothing to prevent a free soloist from a fatal fall. — Rafer Guzmán Honnold … has become the world's pre-eminent free soloist, traveling around the world to scale seemingly unscalable mountains. — G. Allen Johnson


free soloing or free-soloing noun
In the sport of free soloing, which means climbing with only a powdery chalk bag and rock shoes—no rope, no gear, nothing to keep you stuck to the stone but your own belief and ability—doubt is dangerous. — Mark Jenkins

First Known Use of free solo


1984, in the meaning defined above


1984, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about free solo

Statistics for free solo

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for free solo

The first known use of free solo was in 1984

See more words from the same year

Comments on free solo

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


a topic to which one constantly reverts

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!