Definitions

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

  • adj. Existing, living, or going without others; alone: a solitary traveler. See Synonyms at alone.
  • adj. Happening, done, or made alone: a solitary evening; solitary pursuits such as reading and sewing.
  • adj. Remote from civilization; secluded: a solitary retreat.
  • adj. Having no companions; lonesome or lonely.
  • adj. Zoology Living alone or in pairs only: solitary wasps; solitary sparrows.
  • adj. Single and set apart from others: a solitary instance of cowardice.
  • n. A person who lives alone; a recluse.
  • n. Solitary confinement.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who lives alone, or in solitude; an anchoret, hermit or recluse.
  • adj. Living or being by one's self; alone; having no companion present; being without associates.
  • adj. Performed, passed, or endured alone; as, a solitary journey; a solitary life.
  • adj. Not much visited or frequented; remote from society; retired; as, a solitary residence or place.
  • adj. Not inhabited or occupied; without signs of inhabitants or occupation; desolate; deserted; silent; still; hence, gloomy; dismal; as, the solitary desert.
  • adj. Single; individual; sole.
  • adj. Not associated with others of the same kind.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Living or being by one's self; having no companion present; being without associates; single; alone; lonely.
  • adj. Performed, passed, or endured alone.
  • adj. Not much visited or frequented; remote from society; retired; lonely.
  • adj. Not inhabited or occupied; without signs of inhabitants or occupation; desolate; deserted; silent; still; hence, gloomy; dismal.
  • adj. Single; individual; sole.
  • adj. Not associated with others of the same kind.
  • n. One who lives alone, or in solitude; an anchoret; a hermit; a recluse.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Living alone, or by one's self or by itself; without companions or associates; habitually inclined to avoid company.
  • All by one's self; without companions; unattended.
  • Marked by solitude; especially, remote from society; unfrequented; retired; secluded; lonely: as, a solitary glen.
  • Free from the sounds of human life; still; dismal.
  • Having a sense of loneliness; lonesome.
  • Retiring; diffident.
  • Passed without company; shared by no companions; lonely.
  • Single; sole; only, or only one: as, a solitary instance; a solitary example.
  • In botany, one only in a place; separate: as, a solitary stipule.
  • In anatomy, single; separate; not clustered; not agminate or gathered into patches; simple; not compound: as, the solitary follicles of the intestine.
  • In zoöl.:
  • Not social, sociable, or gregarious: noting species living habitually alone, or in pairs only.
  • Simple; not compound, aggregate, or colonial: as, solitary ascidians. See Simplices.
  • n. One who lives alone or in solitude; an anchorite; a recluse; a hermit.
  • In astronomy, noting certain stars which have no conspicuous neighbors (a Hydræ, for instance), or stars which are not members of a binary system, visual or spectroscopic. Called by W. Herschel intersystematical.

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

  • adj. being the only one; single and isolated from others
  • adj. of plants and animals; not growing or living in groups or colonies
  • adj. lacking companions or companionship
  • n. one who lives in solitude
  • n. confinement of a prisoner in isolation from other prisoners
  • adj. devoid of creatures
  • adj. characterized by or preferring solitude

Etymologies

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

Middle English, from Old French solitaire, from Latin sōlitārius, from sōlitās, solitude, from sōlus, alone.

Examples

  • It is more difficult to say which extreme is worst, among _an equal number of individuals_; but probably the city; for in the country, vice is oftener solitary, and less frequently social; while in the city it is not only _social_ but also _solitary_.

    The Young Man's Guide

  • The hole was what they called solitary confinement, and it was way down in the bottom of the old wing.

    KILLING WILLIS

  • And for three years and a half, much of the time in solitary confinement, he was left to meditate upon the injustice of man.

    THE ENEMY OF ALL THE WORLD

  • Or were these memories of other times and places still residual, asleep, immured in solitary in brain cells similarly to the way I was immured in a cell in San Quentin?

    Chapter 6

  • So the problem I faced in solitary, where incessant remembering strove for possession of me, was the problem of forgetting.

    Chapter 6

  • Nor in solitary, out of nothing in Darrell Standing's experience, could I make these wide, far visions of time and space.

    Chapter 6

  • If ever a man deliberately committed murder, Al Hutchins did that morning in solitary at the Warden's bidding.

    Chapter 10

  • Oppenheimer, who had rotted in solitary for so many years, turned sour on the world, on everything.

    Chapter 22

  • He did, however, return to the camp on a number of occasions over the course of the next four years, generally to receive punishment (i.e. being locked in solitary confinement for “21 days bread and water”) for escaping from various work camps.

    Doug Nix

  • All the escapees were given 21 days bread and water in solitary confinement at Stalag XVIIIA.

    Doug Nix

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