Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Without companions; lone.
  • adj. Characterized by aloneness; solitary.
  • adj. Unfrequented by people; desolate: a lonely crossroads.
  • adj. Dejected by the awareness of being alone. See Synonyms at alone.
  • adj. Producing such dejection: the loneliest night of the week.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of person, unhappy by feelings of loneliness.
  • adj. Of place, unfrequented by people; desolate.
  • adj. Of person, without companions; solitary.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Sequestered from company or neighbors; solitary; retired
  • adj. Alone, or in want of company; forsaken.
  • adj. Not frequented by human beings.
  • adj. Having a feeling of depression or sadness resulting from the consciousness of being alone; lonesome.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Unfrequented by men; solitary; desolate: as, a lonely situation.
  • Lacking association or companionship; solitary; standing apart physically or mentally.
  • Sad or dejected from want of companionship or sympathy; forsaken; forlorn.
  • Synonyms Lone, unfrequented, secluded, dreary.
  • Lonesome, companionless.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. devoid of creatures
  • adj. lacking companions or companionship
  • adj. characterized by or preferring solitude
  • adj. marked by dejection from being alone

Etymologies

From lone +‎ -ly, or from an apheretic shortening of alonely. See lone. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I wish you could have a number one and be on top of the world, but you've heard the term lonely at the top.

    CNN Transcript Mar 19, 2006

  • According to Google Trends, "lonely" is the word entered most frequently by Internet users in Dublin, Ireland.

    Lonely Irish Surfers and Randy Brummies

  • Telling people to go waste their money on a Bible with the promise of gold-paved streets if they cooporate, and threatening those that don't with eternal and unbearable burning in lonely darkness is ridiculous.

    They're Alive: Real Scientific Reasons to Believe in Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies » E-Mail

  • I used to indulge in lonely debauches, on nights when I knew my crew was going to sleep ashore.

    Chapter 11

  • That's the only time I'm lonely, is when I go to 'Frisco.

    Chapter VIII

  • For the mere human need, for the sake of that which to the lonely is very dear, I have thought of marriage, but I remembered and I refused to do violence to myself remembering.

    The Kempton-Wace Letters

  • Additionally, Ludwig Feuerbach, a German philosopher, has been described as a lonely figure whose loneliness ‘was the product of an unsatisfied intellectual vanity.’

    God Attachment

  • With her cool style, flexible and sharp-edged, she shunned sentimentality; her assessments were disconcertingly no-nonsense: “It is seldom safe to confide in lonely people ... better to trust in busy, popular people, who have no time for betraying one and no personal need to do so.”

    The Other Elizabeth Taylor

  • The art they create can thereby be rough or polished, face-slappingly blunt or poetically subtle, stridently collectivist or stewed in lonely isolation, writes Ed Halter.

    GreenCine Daily: Fests and events, 5/9.

  • Out in lonely east Leicestershire is a lane that leads over to the little village of Owston.

    The Owston White Horse

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Comments

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  • "Da" literally means "from", but in this case it's more like "by" in "all by myself".

    April 11, 2010

  • Does da have a separate meaning? Or does it just add to solo?

    The first definition (according to the American Heritage Dictionary) is 'without companions; lone'. You could be in a room chock full of people and not have a single companion.
    And even if you did, but had no connection with them you are still in a sense, alone and may very well be lonely.

    April 11, 2010

  • I can see a difference between alone (being by yourself) and lonely (feeling far from those you love, or not having anyone). In Italian, I would use solo for the former and da solo for the latter.

    April 10, 2010

  • To me lonely has a sense of yearning while alone does not.

    April 10, 2010

  • "I was never lonely... neither when I was alone, nor with others. But I would have liked to be alone at last. Loneliness means I'm finally whole. Now I can say it... as tonight I'm at last alone."

    - from Marion's Declaration of Love in the movie Wings of Desire

    April 10, 2010

  • You really need a dictionary to define loneliness for you? You've had a nice life, well done.

    April 10, 2010

  • Lonely, and being alone, are not the same thing.

    April 10, 2010

  • Coriolanus, Act 4, Scene 1:
    "I go alone, / Like to a lonely dragon."

    September 2, 2009