solitary

[sol-i-ter-ee]
See more synonyms for solitary on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  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

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


Examples from the Web for solitary

Contemporary Examples of solitary

Historical Examples of solitary

  • In these solitary tours he was busy and happy, working and playing.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Here he cooked and ate his meals, and here he spent his solitary evenings.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Like a sentinel on that solitary plain it overwhelms me with a sense of mystery.

    Ballads of a Bohemian

    Robert W. Service

  • When a man is bitten by a snake in a solitary place he is in God's hands.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • It was my bringing up, I fancy, which made me a solitary lad.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic


British Dictionary definitions for solitary

solitary

adjective
  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 solitary
adj.

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