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desolate

[adjective des-uh-lit; verb des-uh-leyt]
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adjective
  1. barren or laid waste; devastated: a treeless, desolate landscape.
  2. deprived or destitute of inhabitants; deserted; uninhabited.
  3. solitary; lonely: a desolate place.
  4. having the feeling of being abandoned by friends or by hope; forlorn.
  5. dreary; dismal; gloomy: desolate prospects.
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verb (used with object), des·o·lat·ed, des·o·lat·ing.
  1. to lay waste; devastate.
  2. to deprive of inhabitants; depopulate.
  3. to make disconsolate.
  4. to forsake or abandon.
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Origin of desolate

1325–75; Middle English < Latin dēsōlātus forsaken, past participle of dēsōlāre, equivalent to dē- de- + sōlāre to make lonely, derivative of sōlus sole1; see -ate1
Related formsdes·o·late·ly, adverbdes·o·late·ness, noundes·o·lat·er, des·o·la·tor, nounqua·si-des·o·late, adjectivequa·si-des·o·late·ly, adverb
Can be confuseddesolate dissolute

Synonyms

See more synonyms for desolate on Thesaurus.com
1. ravaged. 2. desert. 4. lonesome, lost; miserable, wretched, woebegone, woeful, inconsolable, cheerless, hopeless. 6. ravage, ruin. 8. sadden, depress. 9. desert.

Synonym study

4. Desolate, disconsolate, forlorn suggest one who is in a sad and wretched condition. The desolate person is deprived of human consolation, relationships, or presence: desolate and despairing. The disconsolate person is aware of the efforts of others to console and comfort, but is unable to be relieved or cheered by them: She remained disconsolate even in the midst of friends. The forlorn person is lost, deserted, or forsaken by friends: wretched and forlorn in a strange city.

Antonyms

4. delighted, happy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for desolateness

Historical Examples

  • The desolateness of the poor girls had perhaps been greater than their grief.

    Two Penniless Princesses

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • Why does not Dorothea give the real reason for her desolateness?

  • Its newness and desolateness of appearance revolted me, just then.

    Basil

    Wilkie Collins

  • Meg felt lonely and blank; and pity mingled with her desolateness.

    Meg's Friend

    Alice Abigail Corkran

  • There was a kind of desolateness in our life, though we did not understand it at the time.

    The Two Sides of the Shield

    Charlotte M. Yonge


British Dictionary definitions for desolateness

desolate

adjective (ˈdɛsəlɪt)
  1. uninhabited; deserted
  2. made uninhabitable; laid waste; devastated
  3. without friends, hope, or encouragement; forlorn, wretched, or abandoned
  4. gloomy or dismal; depressing
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verb (ˈdɛsəˌleɪt) (tr)
  1. to deprive of inhabitants; depopulate
  2. to make barren or lay waste; devastate
  3. to make wretched or forlorn
  4. to forsake or abandon
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Derived Formsdesolater or desolator, noundesolately, adverbdesolateness, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Latin dēsōlāre to leave alone, from de- + sōlāre to make lonely, lay waste, from sōlus alone
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 desolateness

desolate

v.

late 14c., from desolate (adj.). Related: Desolated; desolating.

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desolate

adj.

mid-14c., "without companions," also "uninhabited," from Latin desolatus, past participle of desolare "leave alone, desert," from de- "completely" (see de-) + solare "make lonely," from solus "alone" (see sole (adj.)). Sense of "joyless" is 15c.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper