[ uh-lohn ]
/ əˈloʊn /
See synonyms for: alone / aloneness on

adjective (used predicatively)

separate, apart, or isolated from others: I want to be alone.
to the exclusion of all others or all else: One cannot live by bread alone.
unique; unequaled; unexcelled: He is alone among his peers in devotion to duty.


solitarily; solely: She prefers to live alone.
only; exclusively.
without aid or help: The baby let go of the side of the crib and stood alone.


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Idioms for alone

Origin of alone

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English al one all (in the sense “wholly”) one

synonym study for alone

1. Alone, lone, lonely, lonesome all imply being without companionship or association. Alone is colorless unless reinforced by all; it then suggests solitariness or desolation: alone in the house; all alone on an island. Lone is somewhat poetic or is intended humorously: a lone sentinel. Lonely implies a sad or disquieting feeling of isolation. Lonesome connotes emotion, a longing for companionship.

usage note for alone

7, 9. See leave1.


a·lone·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What is a basic definition of alone?

Alone is an adjective that describes someone or something as being in isolation or as being unique. Alone is used as an adverb to mean something was done by a single individual. Alone has a few additional senses as an adjective and an adverb.

If you are alone, you are the only human being present in a place. Generally, alone is neither good nor bad. If it’s used in the phrase “all alone” though, it implies a sense of sadness or loneliness. Alone always describes a situation where there is exactly one thing existing apart from all others.

Real-life examples: Some animals, such as tigers, like to be alone and spend most of their lives away from others of their species. You may want to be alone in your room, away from other people. An actor might be alone on stage when giving a monologue.

Used in a sentence: I was alone in the dark, spooky room. 

Alone also describes something as being unique or being the only example of something.

Real-life examples: A championship is won by one team alone. You alone are the only one who knows how you feel.

Used in a sentence: I always feel like I am alone in my love of smelly cheese. 

Alone is also used as an adverb to mean something was done by a single individual.

Real-life examples: A widow might live alone in her house after her husband dies. A solo is when a singer or musician performs alone. Most games cannot be played alone and need at least a second player.

Used in a sentence: She likes to hike alone in the woods.

Where does alone come from?

The first records of alone come from the later 1200s. It comes from the Middle English al one, meaning “exclusively one” or “entirely one.”

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What are some other forms related to alone?

  • aloneness (noun)

What are some synonyms for alone?

What are some words that share a root or word element with alone

What are some words that often get used in discussing alone?

How is alone used in real life?

Alone is a very common word that most often describes something that involves one person or thing.



Try using alone!

True or False?

If a person is alone in a room, no one else is in the room with them.

Example sentences from the Web for alone

British Dictionary definitions for alone

/ (əˈləʊn) /

adjective, adverb (postpositive)

Word Origin for alone

Old English al one, literally: all (entirely) one
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

Idioms and Phrases with alone


see go it alone; leave someone alone; leave well enough alone; let alone.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.