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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


See more synonyms for lonely on Thesaurus.com
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?


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

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


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

British Dictionary definitions for 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
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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 lonely


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