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See more synonyms for lonely on Thesaurus.com
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.
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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

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Synonym study

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

Related Words for loneliness

heartache, desolation, solitude, alienation, aloneness, withdrawal, solitariness, seclusion, remoteness, forlornness, lonesomeness

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
  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
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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.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper