lone·​ly | \ˈlōn-lē \
lonelier; loneliest

Definition of lonely 

1a : being without company : lone too many lonely nights at home

b : cut off from others : solitary the train stopped frequently at lonely little stations— Robert Hichens

2 : not frequented by human beings : desolate a lonely spot in the woods

3 : sad from being alone : lonesome He was feeling lonely without his wife and children.

4 : producing a feeling of bleakness or desolation it's a lonely thing to be a champion— G. B. Shaw

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Other Words from lonely

loneliness \ˈlōn-​lē-​nəs \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of lonely in a Sentence

He was lonely without his wife and children. She was a lonely child with few friends. It was lonely living out in the country. She spent too many lonely nights at home. She had a lonely childhood. a lonely spot in the woods a lonely stretch of road
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Recent Examples on the Web

Facebook makes people lonely and depressed In a recent University of Pennsylvania study, researchers asked a group of college students to limit their time on Facebook, Instagram (owned by Facebook), and Snapchat to a total of 30 minutes per day. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Sorry Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook isn’t a “positive force”," 21 Nov. 2018 Even though human social networks often fall apart in cities, with people feeling lonely and isolated, the resistant pests stay connected. Rob Dunn, Discover Magazine, "Our Attempts to Eradicate Insects are Just Making them Resistant to Pesticides," 16 Nov. 2018 Kondo says the cleanup process can often be lonely, and this guide will be a way for people to connect and get through it together. Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "Marie Kondo's Revolutionary New Product Is...a Shoebox," 24 July 2018 One thing that’s a theme for me is that everybody’s lonely. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Steven Yeun on Burning, The Walking Dead, and changing roles for Asian-Americans," 4 Nov. 2018 Each of us would have been so lonely with the normal kind. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Jackie Kennedy's Love Letter to JFK Offers a Rare Glimpse Into Their Marriage," 29 Oct. 2018 In general, though, wandering around the wasteland with three other people is a lot less lonely than the usual Fallout experience. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Hands-on: Fallout 76 lets you bring some company to the Apocalypse," 8 Oct. 2018 The one place where women have the undisputed power to make real change — at the polls — has been a little lonely around some parts. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, "The first battle of the #SecondCivilWar is Nov. 6. Female voters must be a force.," 5 July 2018 The spree ended when an accomplice's tip set up a law enforcement ambush on a lonely road outside of Gibsland in Bienville Parish. Melinda Morris, NOLA.com, "84 years ago May 23, Bonnie and Clyde met their doom, in Louisiana," 23 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lonely.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lonely

circa 1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for lonely

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lonely

The first known use of lonely was circa 1598

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More Definitions for lonely



English Language Learners 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


lone·​ly | \ˈlōn-lē \
lonelier; loneliest

Kids Definition of lonely

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

2 : not often visited a lonely spot

3 : sad from being alone : lonesome a lonely child

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

Other Words from lonely

loneliness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on lonely

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lonely

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lonely

Spanish Central: Translation of lonely

Nglish: Translation of lonely for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lonely for Arabic Speakers

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