adjective, lone·li·er, lone·li·est.

affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone; lonesome.
destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship, intercourse, support, etc.: a lonely exile.
lone; solitary; without company; companionless.
remote from places of human habitation; desolate; unfrequented; bleak: a lonely road.
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 for lonely

Synonym study

1. See alone.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for loneliness

Contemporary Examples of loneliness

Historical Examples of loneliness

  • It's the cursed fear of loneliness and the fear of having time to think.

  • But into his loneliness and despair the girl had came like a ray of light.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • To-night—to-night, he is rocking just the same, in silence, in loneliness.

  • He felt reassured in a measure, but a sense of loneliness filled him.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • I should die of misery and fright and loneliness in this awful jungle.

    The Monster Men

    Edgar Rice Burroughs

British Dictionary definitions for loneliness


adjective -lier or -liest

unhappy as a result of being without the companionship of othersa lonely man
causing or resulting from the state of being alonea lonely existence
isolated, unfrequented, or desolate
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 loneliness

1580s, from lonely + -ness.



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