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

Oooohhhhhhhh my man #JIMIN (@BTS_twt) with a solo jam!! De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "BTS's Jimin Releases Solo Single "Promise"," 31 Dec. 2018 This marks Meghan’s second public appearance of the week, following her solo engagement at Brinsworth House nursing home yesterday, which is supported by Royal Variety Charity, one of the Queen’s patronages. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Just Stunned in a Black Sheer Dress at the Queen’s Christmas Luncheon," 19 Dec. 2018 Wonder Woman was the first movie from Warner Bros. to focus on a solo female superhero. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "2018 belonged to Black Panther. And it could change Marvel’s future.," 11 Dec. 2018 Divorce means dividing that shared life in two and, sometimes, starting from scratch solo if your partner takes a chunk of the household necessities (see aforementioned toaster) can get pricey fast. Tanya Edwards, Glamour, "The Divorce Registry Isn't a Thing, but It Should Be," 26 Nov. 2018 About Spending Christmas Alone For the past 22 years since her divorce, Fergie has spent the holidays solo as her daughters join the rest of the royal family at Sandringham. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Sarah Ferguson Gives Rare Interview About Prince Andrew and Princess Diana," 12 Nov. 2018 So many of our daily experiences now are being confined to these individual, solo — look, staring at my phone — mobile, solitary experiences. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard explains why live venues are leaving money on the table," 11 Oct. 2018 The entire tower costs just $80, which is cheaper than the price of some solo slow cookers. Lindsey Murray, Good Housekeeping, "Amazon Has a MAJOR Sale on This Crazy Popular 3-in-1 Crock Pot Today," 17 July 2018 Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail’ by Jennifer Thermes Multiple books have been written about Emma Gatewood, who, at 67, became the first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail solo. Heather Hansman, Outside Online, "A 3-Year-Old Reviews Outdoorsy Kids' Books," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

But even with all those nods, Cami ended up walking the red carpet totally solo. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Camila Mendes Walked the People's Choice Awards Red Carpet WITHOUT Boyfriend Charles Melton," 12 Nov. 2018 In 2000, Fiennes had to abandon an attempt to walk solo and unsupported to the North Pole when his sleds fell through the ice. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "The 7 Summits Aren't Enough for This Record-Seeking 72-Year-Old Explorer," 26 July 2016 The solo vocal writing is also skillful, establishing undercurrents of emotion without showiness. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "‘Marnie’ Review: A Thief’s Secrets," 22 Oct. 2018 The success of that project convinced Szatmáry that the time was right to go solo—and to go luxury. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Susan Szatmáry Rolls Into the Accessories Market With a Wheeled “Valisette” Bag Packed With Wow Factor," 23 Nov. 2018 Lauren Jauregui opened up to Nylon about going solo, recording her sentimental and personal new album, and her love life. Megan Lasher, Seventeen, "Lauren Jauregui Doesn't Date According to the Gender Binary," 5 Sep. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The Trojans shared a title in 2003 with LSU before repeating as solo champion the next season. Josh Dubow, The Seattle Times, "Alabama already among greatest college dynasties," 7 Jan. 2019 Prior to Ariana, just three other solo women have headlined the Indio, California, music festival: Björk (who headlined twice), Lady Gaga, and Beyoncé. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande Is Only the Fourth Woman Ever to Headline Coachella," 3 Jan. 2019 First ladies usually don’t take solo helicopter rides. Steve Helber, The Seattle Times, "Melania Trump makes first lady history with ride in Osprey," 12 Dec. 2018 In March, Marvel will release Captain Marvel, the first female solo superhero film in the current MCU (some may recall 2005’s Elektra, but that film was distributed by Fox). Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "2018 belonged to Black Panther. And it could change Marvel’s future.," 11 Dec. 2018 As a feminist and supporter for women's rights, the Duchess of Sussex followed her passion in launching her first solo royal project, Together: Our Community Cookbook. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Michelle Obama Gives Advice to Meghan Markle About Handling Pressure," 3 Dec. 2018 And Lauren Jauregui recently unveiled her first solo single. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "Camila Cabello Reconciled With Fellow Fifth Harmony Member Normani at the 2018 BBMAs," 15 Nov. 2018 The pop icon showed up to the AMAs dripping in silver and completely solo. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Taylor Swift Just Walked The 2018 AMAs Red Carpet Without Boyfriend Joe Alwyn," 9 Oct. 2018 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

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

11 Jan 2019

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

Comments on solo

What made you want to look up solo? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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