solitary

adjective
sol·​i·​tary | \ ˈsä-lə-ˌter-ē How to pronounce solitary (audio) \

Definition of solitary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : being, living, or going alone or without companions
b : saddened by isolation
2 : unfrequented, desolate a solitary seashore
3a : taken, passed, or performed without companions a solitary ramble
b : keeping a prisoner apart from others solitary confinement
4 : being at once single and isolated a solitary example
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

solitary

noun
plural solitaries

Definition of solitary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one who lives or seeks to live a solitary life : recluse
2 : solitary confinement in prison put him in solitary

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Other Words from solitary

Adjective

solitarily \ ˌsä-​lə-​ˈter-​ə-​lē How to pronounce solitarily (audio) \ adverb
solitariness \ ˈsä-​lə-​ˌter-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce solitariness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for solitary

Synonyms: Adjective

alone, lone, one, one-off, only, singular, sole, special, sui generis, unique

Synonyms: Noun

anchorite, eremite, hermit, isolate, recluse

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Choose the Right Synonym for solitary

Adjective

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 solitary in a Sentence

Adjective

He took a solitary walk on the beach. A solitary house stood on top of the cliff. Most cats are solitary creatures. He's a very solitary man.

Noun

The prisoner was kept in solitary. weary of European civilization, the painter Paul Gauguin famously abandoned France to become a solitary in the South Seas
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There is no denying that as solitary players, each one of them was fantastic. SI.com, "England: Why This Is the Three Lions' Real Golden Generation," 9 Sep. 2019 Georgia had earned her place as an artist through years of study, the solitary investigation of ideas, the difficult struggle to find her own voice. Roxana Robinson, The New Yorker, "The Rivalry Between Georgia O’Keeffe and Her Sister Ida," 4 Sep. 2019 The shortest story in this collection — a solitary page and a half — packs as much power as the just-slightly longer ones. Daneet Steffens, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Fly Already’ a story collection with a high tolerance for the absurd," 29 Aug. 2019 The ruinous failing of the ideologues who call themselves libertarians is their fanatic attachment to a simple solitary principle — that is, to the notion of personal freedom as the whole end of the civil social order, and indeed of human existence. John Hood, National Review, "New Nationalists Make Three Big Bets," 28 Aug. 2019 The route is obvious except for where a solitary tree stands at a fork in the road at the 1.6-mile point. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Everything's connected: Flagstaff's urban trails lead to Arizona Trail, national forest," 28 Aug. 2019 For a solitary star, detecting those color variations is an exceedingly delicate process. Corey S. Powell, Scientific American, "The Hunt Is on for Alpha Centauri’s Planets," 5 Aug. 2019 To be exact: A solitary practitioner of Celtic witchcraft. Anna Bauman, Detroit Free Press, "Crystals, healing, acceptance: Inside the world of Michigan's witches," 2 Aug. 2019 Stoke have conceded a staggering 83% of the shots on their goal so far this season, with Butland having just a solitary save to show for. SI.com, "3 Problems Nathan Jones Must Solve to Save Stoke City From Championship Obscurity," 27 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

SOLITARY: INSIDE RED ONION STATE PRISON (2017) 10 p.m. on HBO. Kathryn Shattuck, New York Times, "What’s on TV Monday: ‘Finding Dory’ and ‘Gender Revolution: A Journey With Katie Couric’," 6 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'solitary.' 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 solitary

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for solitary

Adjective

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

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Statistics for solitary

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for solitary

The first known use of solitary was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for solitary

solitary

adjective

English Language Learners 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

solitary

adjective
sol·​i·​tary | \ ˈsä-lə-ˌter-ē How to pronounce solitary (audio) \

Kids Definition of solitary

1 : all alone : without anyone or anything else a solitary traveler
2 : seldom visited : lonely a solitary seashore
3 : growing or living alone : not one of a group or cluster solitary insects

solitary

adjective
sol·​i·​tary | \ ˈsäl-ə-ˌter-ē How to pronounce solitary (audio) \

Medical Definition of solitary

: occurring singly and not as part of a group a solitary lesion

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More from Merriam-Webster on solitary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with solitary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for solitary

Spanish Central: Translation of solitary

Nglish: Translation of solitary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of solitary for Arabic Speakers

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