1

solitary

adjective sol·i·tary \ ˈsä-lə-ˌter-ē \
Updated on: 19 Nov 2017

Definition of solitary

1 a : being, living, or going alone or without companions
b : saddened by isolation
2 : unfrequented, desolate
  • a solitary seashore
3 a : 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
5 a : occurring singly and not as part of a group or cluster
  • flowers terminal and solitary
b : not gregarious, colonial, social, or compound
  • solitary bees

solitarily

play \ˌsä-lə-ˈter-ə-lē\ adverb

solitariness

play \ˈsä-lə-ˌter-ē-nəs\ noun

Examples of solitary in a Sentence

  1. He took a solitary walk on the beach.

  2. A solitary house stood on top of the cliff.

  3. Most cats are solitary creatures.

  4. He's a very solitary man.

Recent Examples of solitary from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of solitary

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

Synonym Discussion of solitary

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

2

solitary

noun

Definition of solitary

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

Examples of solitary in a Sentence

  1. The prisoner was kept in solitary.

  2. weary of European civilization, the painter Paul Gauguin famously abandoned France to become a solitary in the South Seas

Recent Examples of solitary from the Web

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.

First Known Use of solitary

15th century

solitary Synonyms

Synonyms
anchorite, eremite, hermit, isolate, recluse
Related Words
homebody, shut-in
Near Antonyms
socialite; socializer


SOLITARY Defined for English Language Learners

solitary

adjective

Definition of solitary for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

solitary

adjective sol·i·tary \ ˈsä-lə-ˌter-ē \

Definition of solitary for Students

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

Medical Dictionary

solitary

adjective sol·i·tary \ ˈsäl-ə-ˌter-ē \

medical Definition of solitary

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


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