• synonyms


noun, plural so·los, so·li [soh-lee] /ˈsoʊ li/.
  1. a musical composition or a passage or section in a musical composition written for performance by one singer or instrumentalist, with or without accompaniment: She sang a solo.
  2. any performance, as a dance, by one person.
  3. a flight in an airplane during which the pilot is unaccompanied by an instructor or other person: I'll be ready for my first solo next week.
  4. a person who works, acts, or performs alone: He used to sing with a quartet, but now he's a solo.
  5. a person who performs or accomplishes something without the usual equipment, tools, etc.
  6. Informal. an announcement, commercial offering, etc., made to only one person or a selected group of such persons: Each month the firm sends a solo to its best customers.
  7. Cards. any of certain games in which one person plays alone against others.
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  1. Music. performing alone: a part for solo bassoon.
  2. performed alone; not combined with other parts of equal importance; not concerted.
  3. alone; without a companion or partner: a solo flight.
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  1. on one's own; alone or unaccompanied: After six lessons he was flying solo.
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verb (used without object), so·loed, so·lo·ing.
  1. to perform or do a solo: to solo on the trumpet.
  2. to pilot a plane, glider, etc., unaccompanied, especially for the first time: After the course the students should be able to solo.
  3. to perform or accomplish something by oneself.
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verb (used with object), so·loed, so·lo·ing.
  1. to pilot (a plane, glider, etc.) unaccompanied.
  2. to allow (a student pilot) to pilot a plane, glider, etc., alone: The instructor decided to solo the student.
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Origin of solo

1685–95; < Italian < Latin sōlus alone


  1. a combining form meaning “alone,” “solitary,” used in the formation of compound words: solifidian.
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Origin of soli-1

< Latin sōli-, combining form of sōlus. See sole1


  1. a combining form meaning “sun,” used in the formation of compound words: soliform.
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Origin of soli-2

combining form representing Latin sōl sun; see -i-
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for soli

Historical Examples

  • Clearchus of Soli calls the tomb of Alyattes "the tomb of the Hetæra."

    The History of Antiquity, Vol. III (of VI)

    Max Duncker

  • The only inscription which it bears is his motto—— Soli Deo gloria.

    The Story of Brussels

    Ernest Gilliat-Smith

  • Some he settled at Soli in Cilicia, and others in other places, and some in this spot.

  • From Seleucia to Soli is a voyage in a straight line of nearly 1000 stadia.

  • This is the case with his ninth Symphony with Soli and Chorus.

    Life of Beethoven

    Anton Schindler

British Dictionary definitions for soli


adjective, adverb
  1. music (of a piece or passage) to be performed by or with soloistsCompare tutti
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Word Origin

plural of solo


noun plural -los
  1. plural -los or -li (-liː) a musical composition for one performer with or without accompaniment
  2. any of various card games in which each person plays on his own instead of in partnership with another, such as solo whist
  3. a flight in which an aircraft pilot is unaccompanied
    1. any performance, mountain climb, or other undertaking carried out by an individual without assistance from others
    2. (as modifier)a solo attempt
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  1. music unaccompanieda sonata for cello solo
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  1. by oneself; aloneto fly solo
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  1. (intr) to undertake a venture alone, esp to operate an aircraft alone or climb alone
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Word Origin

C17: via Italian from Latin sōlus alone, sole 1
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 soli



1690s, "piece of music for one voice or instrument," from Italian solo, literally "alone," from Latin solus "alone" (see sole (adj.)). As an adjective in English from 1712, originally in the non-musical sense of "alone, unassisted;" in reference to aircraft flying from 1909. The verb is first attested 1858 in the musical sense, 1886 in a non-musical sense. Related: Soloed; soloing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper