lone·​ly | \ ˈlōn-lē How to pronounce lonely (audio) \
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

Other Words from lonely

loneliness \ ˈlōn-​lē-​nəs How to pronounce lonely (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for lonely



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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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web Selling a business can feel lonely and confusing but proven models and a community of peers can turn the fuzziness into optimism for the future and a readiness to create it. Jodie Cook, Forbes, 8 Aug. 2022 Her days in the field are her happy days, while her days at home are lonely and emotionally cold. Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Aug. 2022 Scarred from an accident, Xavier is lonely and bitter — and eager to seize the chance to get the only woman he's ever wanted in his bed. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 28 July 2022 The track is lonely and somber, reflecting back Fish’s post-break-up longing and hopelessness. Neena Rouhani, Billboard, 26 July 2022 Why our kids need it now Two-plus years into Covid-19 and many of our kids are lonely and exhausted, said Aaliyah A. Samuel, CEO of CASEL. Elissa Strauss, CNN, 23 July 2022 Lori was lonely and less than lavish in the summer of 2015, living out of a three-story condo on a cul-de-sac in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, at the end of Wild Turkey Drive. Matt Sullivan, Rolling Stone, 2 July 2022 Now, lonely and grieving, far from her family, Zuhour is transfixed by her loss of Bint Aamir. Ron Charles, Washington Post, 24 May 2022 Women making that very lonely and bleak journey, living in a state of fear and anxiety. Ailbhe Smyth, Time, 6 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of lonely

circa 1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for lonely

Time Traveler

The first known use of lonely was circa 1598

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Dictionary Entries Near lonely



lonely hearts

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Last Updated

14 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lonely.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lonely. Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for lonely


lone·​ly | \ ˈlōn-lē How to pronounce lonely (audio) \
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

More from Merriam-Webster on lonely

Nglish: Translation of lonely for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lonely for Arabic Speakers


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