See more synonyms for solitary on
  1. alone; without companions; unattended: a solitary passer-by.
  2. living alone; avoiding the society of others: a solitary existence.
  3. by itself; alone: one solitary house.
  4. characterized by the absence of companions: a solitary journey.
  5. done without assistance or accompaniment; done in solitude: solitary chores.
  6. being the only one: a solitary exception.
  7. characterized by solitude, as a place; unfrequented, secluded, or lonely: a solitary cabin in the woods.
  8. Zoology. living habitually alone or in pairs, as certain wasps.Compare social(def 11).
noun, plural sol·i·tar·ies.
  1. a person who lives alone or in solitude, or avoids the society of others.
  2. a person who lives in solitude from religious motives.
  3. solitary confinement.

Origin of solitary

1300–50; Middle English < Latin sōlitārius alone, by itself, solitary, equivalent to sōlit(ās) solitude (sōl(us) sole1 + -itās -ity) + -ārius -ary
Related formssol·i·tar·i·ly, adverbsol·i·tar·i·ness, nounun·sol·i·tar·y, adjective

Synonyms for solitary

See more synonyms for on
1. lone. 7. isolated, retired, sequestered, remote. 9, 10. hermit, recluse. 10. eremite. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for solitarily

Historical Examples of solitarily

  • Probably he can work in no other way than from the impulse of his enthusiasm, solitarily.

  • The man was slowly wandering about, solitarily and distressed.

  • And the gardener is to plant another maple tree beside it, that it may not stand so solitarily there.

  • Men moved about solitarily through the night, each saying bitterly to his own heart, 'Would that it had been one of us.'

    The Earl of Mayo

    William Wilson Hunter

  • To understand therefore this text, we are not to consider it solitarily, but jointly with the words precedent, and subsequent.


    Thomas Hobbes

British Dictionary definitions for solitarily


  1. following or enjoying a life of solitudea solitary disposition
  2. experienced or performed alonea solitary walk
  3. (of a place) unfrequented
  4. (prenominal) single; solea solitary speck in the sky
  5. having few companions; lonely
  6. (of animals) not living in organized colonies or large groupssolitary bees; a solitary elephant Compare social (def. 7), gregarious (def. 2)
  7. (of flowers) growing singly
noun plural -taries
  1. a person who lives in seclusion; hermit; recluse
  2. informal short for solitary confinement
Derived Formssolitarily, adverbsolitariness, noun

Word Origin for solitary

C14: from Latin sōlitārius, from sōlus 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 solitarily



mid-14c., "alone, living alone," from Old French solitaire, from Latin solitarius "alone, lonely, isolated," from solitas "loneliness, solitude," from solus "alone" (see sole (adj.)). Meaning "single, sole, only" is from 1742. Related: Solitarily; solitariness. As a noun from late 14c.; from 1854 as short for solitary confinement (that phrase recorded from 1817).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper