Definitions

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

  • adjective Existing, living, or going without others; alone: synonym: alone.
  • adjective Happening, done, or made alone.
  • adjective Remote from civilization; secluded.
  • adjective Zoology Living alone or in pairs only.
  • adjective Single and set apart from others.
  • noun A person who lives alone; a recluse.
  • noun Solitary confinement.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • noun One who lives alone or in solitude; an anchorite; a recluse; a hermit.

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

  • noun One who lives alone, or in solitude; an anchoret; a hermit; a recluse.
  • adjective Living or being by one's self; having no companion present; being without associates; single; alone; lonely.
  • adjective Performed, passed, or endured alone.
  • adjective Not much visited or frequented; remote from society; retired; lonely.
  • adjective Not inhabited or occupied; without signs of inhabitants or occupation; desolate; deserted; silent; still; hence, gloomy; dismal.
  • adjective Single; individual; sole.
  • adjective (Bot.) Not associated with others of the same kind.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) any solitary hymenopterous insect of the family Mutillidæ. The female of these insects is destitute of wings and has a powerful sting. The male is winged and resembles a wasp. Called also spider ant.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) any species of bee which does not form communities.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) an American tattler (Totanus solitarius).
  • adjective (Zoöl.), [Prov. Eng.] the great snipe.
  • adjective (Zoöl.), [Prov. Eng.] the starling.

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

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

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

  • adjective being the only one; single and isolated from others
  • adjective of plants and animals; not growing or living in groups or colonies
  • adjective lacking companions or companionship
  • noun one who lives in solitude
  • noun confinement of a prisoner in isolation from other prisoners
  • adjective devoid of creatures
  • adjective 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; see s(w)e- in Indo-European roots.]

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

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

    KILLING WILLIS

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

    Chapter 22

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

    Chapter 10

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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