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lone·​some ˈlōn(t)-səm How to pronounce lonesome (audio)
: sad or dejected as a result of lack of companionship or separation from others
don't be lonesome while we are gone
: causing a feeling of loneliness
the empty house seemed so lonesome
: remote, unfrequented
look down, look down that lonesome roadGene Austin
: lone
lonesomely adverb
lonesomeness noun


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: self
sat all by his lonesome
Choose the Right Synonym for lonesome

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 lonesome in a Sentence

Adjective He was lonesome for his family. The empty house seemed so lonesome.
Recent Examples on the Web
And that has left me in very lonesome spots sometimes. Erika Mailman, WSJ, 2 Aug. 2023 Is trading in the currency of the past a way to distance himself from a lonesome present? Raffish and boyish at the same time — or switching between either mode as a cover for the other — O’Connor’s deft, droll performance implies such possibilities without sentimentalizing them. Guy Lodge, Variety, 26 May 2023 A lot of the old fiddle songs — from waltzes to swing to slow lonesome songs — seem to encapsulate a voice for me. Thor Christensen, Dallas News, 30 June 2023 And while the ballads are suitably lonesome, the lyrics — co-written with director and book writer Compton — are generic. David Benedict, Variety, 9 June 2023 Cheney’s exchange, which went viral on Twitter with more than 730,000 views, suggests the limits of her increasingly lonesome stance in the Republican Party in acknowledging that President Biden won fairly and in demanding accountability for Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Washington Post, 24 May 2021 Cheney's exchange, which went viral on Twitter with more than 730,000 views, suggests the limits of her increasingly lonesome stance in the Republican Party in acknowledging that President Biden won fairly and in demanding accountability for Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. BostonGlobe.com, 24 May 2021 Del McCoury and his high lonesome tenor are back in Maryland to pick a few over the long weekend. Dillon Mullan, Baltimore Sun, 26 May 2023 As the closing music swells, Wayne’s character looks around at his kin — people who have other people to lean on — and then walks off toward the dusty West Texas horizon, lonesome and alone. Ted Anthony, Anchorage Daily News, 16 May 2023
Antarctica, though, would stay by its lonesome in the south. Sarah Zhang, Discover Magazine, 10 Feb. 2012 At 11 seconds, the defense left Rudy Gobert all by his lonesome for an easy alley-oop from Mitchell to give the Jazz the lead. Dallas News, 23 Apr. 2022 The rise in temperatures observed in recent decades can't be definitively pinned on humans because nature — all by her lonesome — has produced temperatures during the past 11,000 years that were just as warm. Tom Yulsman, Discover Magazine, 25 Oct. 2013 Networks and streaming platforms created precious moments that were felt between family and friends as well as those who love to digest sentimental stories by their lonesome. Malik Peay, Essence, 23 Dec. 2022 The Sun is flying into your relationship sector for the next thirty days, making this the perfect time to pick a partner and start tackling matters as a team rather than by your lonesome self. Tarot Astrologers, Chicago Tribune, 22 Sep. 2022 Reading about Mika’s slow healing from the wounds of her lonesome is a healing experience for the reader, too. Charlie Jane Anders, Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2022 In another shot, Anja poses by her lonesome, and one final photo shows her blowing out a candle on a plate of birthday treats. Nicholas Rice, Peoplemag, 25 Aug. 2022 Then, a lonesome Harry hops underneath his covers and down a rabbit hole, à la Alice in Wonderland, and lands in a maze-like blanket fort. André-Naquian Wheeler, Vogue, 13 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lonesome.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1647, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1899, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lonesome was in 1647

Dictionary Entries Near lonesome

Cite this Entry

“Lonesome.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lonesome. Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: sad from lack of companionship or separation from others
: not often visited or traveled over
a lonesome highway
the lonesome frontier
lonesomeness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on lonesome

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