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lonely

[lohn-lee]
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adjective, lone·li·er, lone·li·est.
  1. affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone; lonesome.
  2. destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship, intercourse, support, etc.: a lonely exile.
  3. lone; solitary; without company; companionless.
  4. remote from places of human habitation; desolate; unfrequented; bleak: a lonely road.
  5. standing apart; isolated: a lonely tower.

Origin of lonely

First recorded in 1600–10; lone + -ly
Related formslone·li·ly, adverblone·li·ness, lone·li·hood, nounun·lone·ly, adjective

Synonyms

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4. uninhabited, unpopulated. 5. secluded.

Synonym study

1. See alone.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lonely

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It is their virtue in life to be lonely, and none but the lonely man in tragedy may be great.

  • I am almost as lonely as I was on some of those evenings in the old boarding-house.

  • I am a lonely man, my sweeting, and I must settle some day when the wars are over and done.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • You can be lonely in a crowd, and I guess—is there any one around here you like better than me?

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • If she had said she was lonely because the cherry bookcase was in Paris, he could not have been more bewildered.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart


British Dictionary definitions for lonely

lonely

adjective -lier or -liest
  1. unhappy as a result of being without the companionship of othersa lonely man
  2. causing or resulting from the state of being alonea lonely existence
  3. isolated, unfrequented, or desolate
  4. without companions; solitary
Derived Formsloneliness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for lonely

adj.

c.1600, "solitary, lone," from lone + -ly (1). Meaning "dejected for want of company" is from 1811. Lonely heart (n.) "a lonely-hearted person" is from 1922. Lonely hearted (adj.) is attested from 1820.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper