so·​lo | \ˈsō-(ˌ)lō \
plural solos

Definition of solo 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1 or plural soli\ ˈsō-​(ˌ)lē \

a : a musical composition for a single voice or instrument with or without accompaniment

b : the featured part of a concerto or similar work

2 : a performance in which the performer has no partner or associate : something undertaken or done alone a student pilot's first solo

3 : any of several card games in which a player elects to play without a partner against the other players



Definition of solo (Entry 2 of 4)

: without a companion : alone fly solo



Definition of solo (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : accommodating one person a solo canoe

2 : of, relating to, or being a solo a solo performance a solo flight

3 : hit with no runners on base a solo home run


soloed; soloing\ ˈsō-​(ˌ)lō-​iŋ , -​lə-​wiŋ \

Definition of solo (Entry 4 of 4)

intransitive verb

: to perform by oneself: such as

a : to perform a musical solo

b : to fly an airplane without one's instructor on board

transitive verb

1 : to fly (an aircraft) alone

2 : to climb (something, such as a mountain) alone

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Synonyms & Antonyms for solo

Synonyms: Adjective

alone, lone, lonely, lonesome, single, solitary, unaccompanied

Antonyms: Adjective


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Examples of solo in a Sentence


She is learning to fly and she flew her first solo yesterday.


a student pilot's first solo flight She left the band last year and started a solo career. He just issued his first solo album.


The guitarist solos on practically every song. She soloed for the first time yesterday.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Musical sounds as though it was written during Adams’s heyday, with a guitar-heavy score and plenty of ballads that could have been plucked from his biggest solo albums. Aja Romano, Vox, "Pretty Woman: The Musical is high on charm, low on substance," 17 Aug. 2018 Dance solos, duets and larger ensembles melt in and out of each other. Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, "Review: At BalletX, a New Work Alive With Suspense and Surrealism," 13 July 2018 But Maher headlines his 11th solo HBO special at 10 p.m. Saturday. Hal Boedeker,, "'Sharp Objects,' Bill Maher, 'The 2000s': This weekend," 6 July 2018 Since then, Valenti has mostly hosted the show solo, with producers Mike Sullivan, David Hull and Roberto Boschian chiming in. George Stoia, Detroit Free Press, "Mike Valenti agrees to 'long-term contract' to stay at 97.1 The Ticket," 2 July 2018 Perfect timing for my summer time workouts, vacations, home chillin, riding in my car solo/with wife/kids/family/friends/homies, laying in bed, eating breakfast/lunch/dinner, OVO fest(haha), etc etc!!! Alysha Tsuji, For The Win, "LeBron, Donovan Mitchell and other NBA players love Drake's new album, 'Scorpion'," 29 June 2018 Extended guitar solos and an improvisatory spirit cause Built To Spill to occasionally resemble an angrier and substantially louder version of the Grateful Dead. Bill Brownlee, kansascity, "Break out your flannel: Built to Spill will thrill at Middle of the Map Fest," 28 June 2018 Skaters can compete in solo, pairs, or team dance, as well as in figures. Janice Steinhagen, Courant Community, "Plainfield Skaters Prepare For Championship Competitions," 21 June 2018 Both have several opportunities to shine during solos, duets and group numbers. Elizabeth Marie Himchak, Pomerado News, "REVIEW: 'Mamma Mia!' at Moonlight is guaranteed fun," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Arianna and Emily talk with Normani about going solo, future collaborations, and black women being more than a trend on the red carpet at the Billboard Awards. Shannon Carlin,, "Beyoncé's Advice To Normani Was Life Altering," 21 May 2018 Nieblas has even traveled solo via airplane at least four times in the past two years, with assistance from accommodating airlines, like Alaska and United Air. Sarah Schreiber, Good Housekeeping, "Mom Is Outraged After Airline Tries to Charge a Ridiculous Fee to Help Her Autistic Son," 19 Oct. 2016 Trump last appeared solo before reporters in February 2017, less than a month into his presidency. Catherine Lucey, The Seattle Times, "Trump holds solo news conference, defends bashing press," 9 June 2018 Jason Wood, who spent nine years at JPMorgan JPM -0.91% Chase & Co., went solo in 2013. Liz Hoffman, WSJ, "Upstarts Crash Wall Street’s $7 Billion Capital-Markets Party," 25 June 2018 Turner got his start as part of an English hardcore band before going solo with an acoustic guitar. James Sullivan,, "Frank Turner comes to town for six nights of not being a role model," 21 June 2018 Sia, a native of Australia, sang in an acid jazz band called Crisp and performed backup vocals for Jamiroquai before going solo. Jack Flemming,, "Singer Sia sells her Echo Park bungalow for $980,000," 4 June 2018 Eventually the two each went solo, and Pusha signed with GOOD Music, a notable record label founded by Kanye West in 2004 and boasting a litany of famed artists from Common to Big Sean to Kid Cudi. Aja Romano, Vox, "Pusha T vs. Drake: the long history of rap’s feud of the moment," 31 May 2018 The group became a huge success, and Cabello ended up going solo. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "Kelly Clarkson and Simon Cowell Had an ‘American Idol’ Reunion at the Billboard Awards," 21 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Stapleton’s no-nonsense half hour set the tone for the rest of the night, as a house band settled in to back solo slots from Taylor, Henley and Walsh without breaks. Michael Rietmulder, The Seattle Times, "Review: Joe Walsh’s VetsAid was a familial star-powered party at Tacoma Dome, raising $1.2 million," 12 Nov. 2018 On her recent first solo trip abroad to Africa, noted feminist hero and First Lady Melania Trump took a break from modeling colonialist fashion to speak with ABC News about her role, and, interestingly, MeToo. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Melania Trump Attempts to "Both Sides" MeToo," 10 Oct. 2018 Harry Styles fans weaponized Tumblr accounts and VPNs to promote his first solo single and album in 2017, but BTS fans took the blueprint further, creating tests for wannabe helpers to verify their devotion. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Stop calling Facebook’s effort to fix itself an “arms race”," 14 Sep. 2018 For years, my exercise routine loosely revolved around unregimented solo yoga practice in my bedroom, 5-mile strolls throughout the city, hours of dancing at the bar, and contending with the subway stairs. Celeste Kaufman, SELF, "I’ve Become Someone Who Loves the Gym and Barely Recognize Myself Anymore," 2 Aug. 2018 Naturally, orchestral and solo-piano music dominates the set. David Mermelstein, WSJ, "‘Debussy: His First Performers’ Review: Rare Restoration," 19 June 2018 Her new title was revealed after her first solo public appearance at an event. Fox News, "Kim Jong Un shoves photographer out of way of wife, Ri Sol Ju, at Korean summit, video shows," 2 May 2018 The instrumental forces varied from solo piano to small chamber ensemble — with, interestingly, not a single vocal work among them. Peter Dobrin,, "Network for New Music's Linda Reichert feted with new works," 30 Apr. 2018 There’s still more work to be done: The characters beyond Lucy and Lingg need more individual delineation, and more solo numbers, and the broader themes could use greater emphasis. Chris Jones,, "Tears and cheers at stirring true story of 'Haymarket'," 24 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

It’s here that Turner finds true love with Bach and begins her path to solo superstardom., "Tina Turner Says Her Theatrical Life Story Tina Shows You Can 'Turn Poison into Medicine'," 18 Apr. 2018 Also serving as the debut solo single for Fifth Harmony member Normani, the song shot to the top of the charts around the world upon its release on Valentine’s Day, peaking at No. Rob Ledonne, Billboard, "'Love, Simon' Music, From Deep Cuts to Surprise Global Hits," 16 Mar. 2018 Garrison, who solos with a bow, less plays notes than cyclonic, rapidly accelerating dust-devils of sound. Morgan Enos, Billboard, "Newly Found 1963 John Coltrane Album to Be Released, Listen to a Never-Before-Heard Track," 8 June 2018 Philadelphia Orchestra violinist Richard Amoroso will solo in sections of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and the ensemble will also perform music of Franck, Saint-Saëns, Johann Strauss, Tchaikovsky, and Haydn’s Symphony No., "Art Star Craft Bazaar, Love Your Park Week, New Hope Celebrates Pride, and other great events, May 11-18," 9 May 2018 Perry’s soloing was a melodic, piercing howl atop the latter’s elephantine riff. Marc Hirsh,, "Joe Perry rocks his way at House of Blues," 19 Apr. 2018 The cellist who soloed at the concert was Cleveland native Alisa Weilerstein. Charlene Paparizos,, "Chagrin Falls High School Music Students Attend Cleveland Orchestra Concert: Community Voices," 13 Apr. 2018 The wave has been strong enough to vault star merger bankers including Morgan Stanley’s Paul Taubman and Citigroup ’s Michael Klein to solo careers running their own boutique firms. Liz Hoffman, WSJ, "Investment Bankers, Wall Street’s Postcrisis Heroes, Face Growth Puzzle," 31 Mar. 2018 And, indeed, while the company built its name by offering flexible, by-the-month leases and high-level services to solo workers and small startups, big-name companies make up a growing share of the customer base. Tim Logan,, "WeWork expands again, leasing space for 1,700 desks in the Back Bay," 8 Mar. 2018

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


1695, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1712, in the meaning defined above


1774, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1886, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for solo


Italian, from solo alone, from Latin solus

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Learn More about solo

Dictionary Entries near solo





solo break



Statistics for solo

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for solo

The first known use of solo was in 1695

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More Definitions for solo



English Language Learners Definition of solo

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a piece of music that is performed by one singer or musician

: something that is done without another person



English Language Learners Definition of solo (Entry 2 of 3)

: done without another person

: involving or done by a single performer instead of a group

baseball : hit with no runners on base



English Language Learners Definition of solo (Entry 3 of 3)

: to perform a piece of music without another singer or musician

: to fly an airplane without an instructor


so·​lo | \ˈsō-lō \
plural solos

Kids Definition of solo

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a piece of music performed by one singer or musician a piano solo

2 : an action done alone The pilot flew his first solo.

Kids Definition of solo (Entry 2 of 3)

: without another person : alone fly solo a solo dancer


soloed; soloing

Kids Definition of solo (Entry 3 of 3)

: to do something (as perform music or fly an airplane) alone or without an instructor

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More from Merriam-Webster on solo

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for solo

Spanish Central: Translation of solo

Nglish: Translation of solo for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of solo for Arabic Speakers

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