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solitary

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noun

as in hermit
a person who lives away from others weary of European civilization, the painter Paul Gauguin famously abandoned France to become a solitary in the South Seas

Synonyms & Similar Words

Antonyms & Near Antonyms

Synonym Chooser

How is the word solitary distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of solitary are alone, desolate, forlorn, lonely, lonesome, and lone. While all these words mean "isolated from others," solitary may indicate isolation as a chosen course, but more often it suggests sadness and a sense of loss.

glorying in the calm of her solitary life
left solitary by the death of his wife

When can alone be used instead of solitary?

The meanings of alone and solitary largely overlap; however, 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

In what contexts can desolate take the place of solitary?

The words desolate and solitary can be used in similar contexts, but desolate implies inconsolable grief at loss or bereavement.

desolate after her brother's death

When is it sensible to use forlorn instead of solitary?

Although the words forlorn and solitary have much in common, forlorn stresses dejection, woe, and listlessness at separation from one held dear.

a forlorn lost child

How does the word lone relate to other synonyms for solitary?

Lone may replace lonely or lonesome but typically is as objective as alone.

a lone robin pecking at the lawn

How do lonely and solitary relate to one another?

Lonely adds to solitary a suggestion of longing for companionship.

felt lonely and forsaken

When is lonesome a more appropriate choice than solitary?

The synonyms lonesome and solitary are sometimes interchangeable, but lonesome heightens the suggestion of sadness and poignancy.

an only child often leads a lonesome life

Thesaurus Entries Near solitary

Cite this Entry

“Solitary.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/solitary. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

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