Definition of desolate in English:


Syllabification: des·o·late


Pronunciation: /ˈdesəlit


Pronunciation: /ˈdesəˌlāt
[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Make (a place) bleakly and depressingly empty or bare: the droughts that desolated the dry plains
    More example sentences
    • They carried out Richard's orders to the letter, his arches and calvary slaughtered all before them, burned villages, raided and took cattle herds and desolated the countryside.
    • Amazingly, this visual effect neither turns the scene arty nor drains it of its excitement, but it does suggest that none of this violence has anything to do with the real violence that destroys people and desolates the earth.
    • Finally, in the far distance, the plague's desolating effects are full-blown: the city has been abandoned by the able-bodied, and civilized communication is no longer possible.
    devastate, ravage, ruin, lay waste to; level, raze, demolish, wipe out, obliterate
  • 1.1 (usually be desolated) Make (someone) feel utterly wretched and unhappy: he was desolated by the deaths of his treasured friends
    More example sentences
    • The death of his only son while on service desolated him: ‘My grief has condemned me to hard labour for the rest of my life.’
    • Oh dear me, it desolates me to inform you that I will not be able to update either of my stories for about ten days.
    • No fellow human being could be surprised, wrote Edward to King Alfonso as one father to another, if we were inwardly desolated by the sting of this bitter grief, for we are human, too.
    dishearten, depress, sadden, cast down, make miserable, weigh down, crush, upset, distress, devastate
    informal shatter



More example sentences
  • We pass signs, neon signs stacked upon neon signs, and desolately quiet cul-de-sacs where dim square windows of light hint a little of lives tucked neatly in apartments, hidden out of sight.
  • I still remember a lover's quarrel last February when I'd walked desolately along Madison Avenue, only to come across a small crowd gathered around the store.
  • ‘Take it easy, I'm over it,’ she said softly, desolately.


More example sentences
  • I remember I was driving from Leh to Manali and seeing the desolateness I told my wife this was the perfect place to die.
  • Part of what was startling about the book was its desolateness, its apparent lack of pleasure in anything to do with the sport.
  • He reined Eryn in and gazed at it; looked at the rugged desolateness of the camp and thought, I left Kefari for this…


Pronunciation: /-ˌlātər/
More example sentences
  • It is they who have been the greatest desolators of the world.
  • These are indeed abominable; but they are not desolators.
  • Some of these legends, so vague and so conflicting, are still preserved in the memories of aged men and white-haired matrons, who will sit by the hour and describe the gradual change which time and improvement, those twin desolators of the beautiful, had accomplished with Monk-hall.


late Middle English: from Latin desolatus 'abandoned', past participle of desolare, from de- 'thoroughly' + solus 'alone'.

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