from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Devoid of inhabitants; deserted.
  • adjective Barren; lifeless.
  • adjective Feeling, showing, causing, or expressing sadness or loneliness. synonym: sad.
  • transitive verb To rid or deprive of inhabitants.
  • transitive verb To lay waste; devastate.
  • transitive verb To forsake; abandon.
  • transitive verb To make lonely, forlorn, or wretched.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To render lonely, as a place or region, by depopulation or devastation; make desert; lay waste; ruin; ravage.
  • To overwhelm with grief; afflict; make very sorry or weary: as, his heart was desolated by his loss; your misfortune desolates me; to be desolated by ennui.
  • Solitary; lonely; without companionship; forsaken.
  • Overwhelmed with grief; deprived of comfort; afflicted.
  • Destitute; lacking.
  • Destitute of inhabitants; uninhabited; lonely; abandoned: as, a desolate wilderness; desolate altars; desolate towers.
  • Lost to shame; abandoned; dissolute.
  • Synonyms Companionless.
  • Forlorn, cheerless, miserable, wretched.
  • Abandoned, unfrequented, lonely, waste, wild, barren, dreary.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To make desolate; to leave alone; to deprive of inhabitants.
  • transitive verb To lay waste; to ruin; to ravage.
  • adjective Destitute or deprived of inhabitants; deserted; uninhabited; hence, gloomy
  • adjective Laid waste; in a ruinous condition; neglected; destroyed.
  • adjective Left alone; forsaken; lonely; comfortless.
  • adjective obsolete Lost to shame; dissolute.
  • adjective obsolete Destitute of; lacking in.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Deserted and devoid of inhabitants.
  • adjective Barren and lifeless.
  • adjective Made unfit for habitation or use.
  • adjective Dismal or dreary.
  • adjective Sad, forlorn and hopeless.
  • verb To deprive of inhabitants.
  • verb To devastate or lay waste somewhere.
  • verb To abandon or forsake something.
  • verb To make someone sad, forlorn and hopeless.

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

  • verb leave someone who needs or counts on you; leave in the lurch
  • verb reduce in population
  • adjective providing no shelter or sustenance
  • adjective crushed by grief
  • verb cause extensive destruction or ruin utterly


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

[Middle English desolat, from Latin dēsōlātus, past participle of dēsōlāre, to abandon : dē-, de- + sōlus, alone; see s(w)e- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Latin desolatus, past participle of desolare ("to leave alone, make lonely, lay waste, desolate"), from solus ("alone").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word desolate.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.