lone·​ly | \ ˈlōn-lē How to pronounce lonely (audio) \
lonelier; loneliest

Definition of lonely

1a : being without company : lone too many lonely nights at home
b : cut off from others : solitary the train stopped frequently at lonely little stations— Robert Hichens
2 : not frequented by human beings : desolate a lonely spot in the woods
3 : sad from being alone : lonesome He was feeling lonely without his wife and children.
4 : producing a feeling of bleakness or desolation it's a lonely thing to be a champion— G. B. Shaw

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Other Words from lonely

loneliness \ ˈlōn-​lē-​nəs How to pronounce lonely (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for lonely



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Choose the Right Synonym for lonely

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 lonely in a Sentence

He was lonely without his wife and children. She was a lonely child with few friends. It was lonely living out in the country. She spent too many lonely nights at home. She had a lonely childhood. a lonely spot in the woods a lonely stretch of road
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Recent Examples on the Web This sense of being lonely in a crowd can motivate you to do whatever is necessary to find true intimacy. Tarot Astrologers, chicagotribune.com, 2 Oct. 2021 Delius was by then at boarding school in Massachusetts, and her life had begun to feel lonely. Mayukh Sen, The New Yorker, 30 Sep. 2021 That lonely feeling was a motivating factor for Frech and his family to create Angel City Sports, an organization founded in 2013 to provide sports programming for kids, adults and veterans with physical disabilities or visual impairments. Thuc Nhi Nguyen Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 4 Sep. 2021 But as winter set in, Michael began to feel lonely, like many students. Neal Morton, The Christian Science Monitor, 31 Aug. 2021 In February 2020, a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine noted that a third of Americans over 45 feel lonely; a quarter of those over 65 are socially isolated. New York Times, 18 Aug. 2021 Tom said that one of the foundations for him was loneliness, that Loki was lonely. Chancellor Agard, EW.com, 9 July 2021 A year after their last in-person classes, high school students are feeling isolated and lonely. Thuc Nhi Nguyen Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 19 Mar. 2021 Deliver on something hard and lonely that nobody else wants to do, such as solving a problem that stalls the team’s performance, results in tension with another department or creates unmanaged interdependencies with other teams, for example. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 11 Mar. 2021

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

circa 1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for lonely

Time Traveler

The first known use of lonely was circa 1598

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Dictionary Entries Near lonely



lonely hearts

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Statistics for lonely

Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lonely.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lonely. Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for lonely



English Language Learners Definition of lonely

: sad from being apart from other people
: causing sad feelings that come from being apart from other people
: not visited by or traveled on by many people


lone·​ly | \ ˈlōn-lē How to pronounce lonely (audio) \
lonelier; loneliest

Kids Definition of lonely

1 : lone sense 1 I saw a lonely figure in the distance.
2 : not often visited a lonely spot
3 : sad from being alone : lonesome a lonely child
4 : producing sad feelings from being alone I spent a lonely evening at home.

Other Words from lonely

loneliness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on lonely

Nglish: Translation of lonely for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lonely for Arabic Speakers


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