Definitions

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

  • adjective Dejected by the awareness of being alone. synonym: alone.
  • adjective Producing such dejection.
  • adjective Without others of a similar kind; lone; solitary.
  • adjective Unfrequented by people; desolate.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

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 10, 2006

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

Comments

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

  • Coriolanus, Act 4, Scene 1:

    "I go alone, / Like to a lonely dragon."

    September 2, 2009

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

    April 10, 2010

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

    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

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

    April 10, 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

  • 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

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

    April 11, 2010