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

Synonyms: Noun

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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 From the airport, Mr. Ghosn was taken to jail, where he was forced to live in solitary confinement for weeks at a time. Michael Corkery, New York Times, "Carlos Ghosn Defends His Legacy," 8 Jan. 2020 His daughter, Rachel Meeropol, is a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York who litigated the case that substantially reduced solitary confinement in California prisons. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "How will childhood among radicals impact Chesa Boudin as SF’s district attorney?," 4 Jan. 2020 Writing in The Washington Post in April, Carole Ghosn said her husband had been kept in solitary confinement, with the lights on around the clock, and subjected to interrogation at all hours of the night and day without access to his lawyers. Simon Denyer, Anchorage Daily News, "Indicted former Nissan boss escapes Japan in a ‘bolt from the blue,’ one of his lawyers says," 31 Dec. 2019 Kalief Browder, a 16-year-old who had spent three years (often in solitary confinement) at Rikers awaiting trial for stealing a backpack, a charge that was eventually dismissed, killed himself two years after release. Amy Chozick, New York Times, "The Rikers Coffee Academy," 27 Dec. 2019 Mr Fierro, who is Mexican, has been on death row for 39 years, most of that time in solitary confinement. The Economist, "The sleuth of death row What does it take to become a death-row detective?," 18 Dec. 2019 New York has tried to curtail the use of solitary confinement. Washington Post, "Man whose information was found on Jersey City shooter arrested," 16 Dec. 2019 Each prisoner is also supposed to undergo a suicide prevention screening and a mental health assessment when entering solitary confinement. Fox News, "NY prison inmate's suicide raises questions about solitary confinement," 16 Dec. 2019 Lopez, the Grupo Mazz co-founder and lead singer, penned more than 100 new songs while serving his sentence, which was mostly spent in solitary confinement, according to earlier reports in the Chronicle. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "Tejano singer convicted of raping niece to perform in Houston after parole modification," 4 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for solitary

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for solitary

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Solitary.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/solitariness. Accessed 25 January 2020.

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More Definitions for solitary

solitary

adjective
How to pronounce solitary (audio)

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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