[ sol-i-ter-ee ]
See synonyms for: solitarysolitariessolitarilysolitariness on

  1. alone; without companions; unattended: a solitary passer-by.

  2. living alone; avoiding the society of others: a solitary existence.

  1. by itself; alone: one solitary house.

  2. characterized by the absence of companions: a solitary journey.

  3. done without assistance or accompaniment; done in solitude: solitary chores.

  4. being the only one: a solitary exception.

  5. characterized by solitude, as a place; unfrequented, secluded, or lonely: a solitary cabin in the woods.

  6. 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.

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

Other words for solitary

Other words from solitary

  • sol·i·tar·i·ly, adverb
  • sol·i·tar·i·ness, noun
  • un·sol·i·tar·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use solitary in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for solitary


/ (ˈsɒlɪtərɪ, -trɪ) /

  1. following or enjoying a life of solitude: a solitary disposition

  2. experienced or performed alone: a solitary walk

  1. (of a place) unfrequented

  2. (prenominal) single; sole: a solitary speck in the sky

  3. having few companions; lonely

  4. (of animals) not living in organized colonies or large groups: solitary bees; a solitary elephant Compare social (def. 7), gregarious (def. 2)

  5. (of flowers) growing singly

nounplural -taries
  1. a person who lives in seclusion; hermit; recluse

  2. informal short for solitary confinement

Origin of solitary

C14: from Latin sōlitārius, from sōlus sole 1

Derived forms of solitary

  • solitarily, adverb
  • solitariness, 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