Definition of solitary in English:


Syllabification: sol·i·tar·y
Pronunciation: /ˈsäləˌterē


  • 1Done or existing alone: I live a pretty solitary life tigers are essentially solitary
    More example sentences
    • Shrek himself (voiced by Mike Myers) is an unpleasant, solitary ogre who lives alone in a swamp.
    • I dined in solitary state, all alone in the castle's gilt-and-blue dining hall.
    • A solitary bad person sitting alone, harbouring genocidal thoughts, and wishing he ruled the world is not a problem unless he lives next to us in the trailer park.
    lonely, companionless, unaccompanied, by oneself, on one's own, alone, friendless; antisocial, unsociable, withdrawn, reclusive, cloistered, hermitic, incommunicado, lonesome
  • 1.1(Of a place) secluded or isolated: solitary farmsteads
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    • People sometimes have the feeling that by going to a solitary place where the environment is quiet, they will experience peace and happiness.
    • It's a rugged, wild, solitary place with phenomenal tides and massive seas.
    • So he took to caves and solitary places for severe penance and meditation.
    isolated, remote, lonely, out of the way, in the back of beyond, outlying, off the beaten track/path, godforsaken, obscure, inaccessible, cut off; secluded, private, sequestered, desolate, in the backwoods
    informal in the sticks, in the middle of nowhere, in the boondocks, in the back woods
    literary lone
  • 1.2 [attributive often with negative] Single; only: we have not a solitary shred of evidence to go on
    More example sentences
    • Nancy & Lee also had a solitary UK hit single: the glorious, saucy, surreal ‘Did You Ever?’
    • Every single, solitary person admitted was female.
    • Laid out before you, you have 73 different types of fruit - a succulent, juicy example of every variety you can think of - but not one single, solitary apple.
  • 1.3(Of a bird, mammal, or insect) living alone or in pairs, especially in contrast to related social forms: a solitary wasp
    More example sentences
    • Other faunal elements include colonial and solitary corals, encrusting bryozoans, stromatoporoids, and rare brachiopods.
    • However, little is known about costs of parental investment in insects, particularly in solitary as well as social aculeate Hymenoptera.
    • While a few hydrozoans, such as Hydra, are solitary polyps, most live in colonies made up of anywhere from a few to thousands of individual polyps.
  • 1.4(Of a flower or other part) borne singly.
    More example sentences
    • The solitary flowers are borne on long, wiry pedicels.
    • Petioles of huge solitary leaves of mature plants of Amorphophallus resemble tree trunks supporting an umbrella-like crown.
    • Pelliciera has solitary flowers that are accompanied by two large coloured prophylls.

noun (plural solitaries)

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  • 1A recluse or hermit.
    More example sentences
    • This question applies with particular acuteness to the situation of hermits or solitaries.
    • Who would have thought that Christian solitaries from the Egyptian desert of late antiquity would speak with such authority to us today?
    • For the significance of the outlaw to Dylan is less that of the rebel and more the solitary who rejects established religion for the direct inspiration of truth.
  • 2 informal short for solitary confinement.
    More example sentences
    • Does he get punished, does he ever get in the solitary?
    • Consequently, a further 200 prisoners who did a solitary stretch may now seek a wad of cash, courtesy of the taxpayer, taking the total to millions of dollars.
    • After leaving solitary, he will ultimately be sent to a different minimum-security facility.



More example sentences
  • Out there, among the cypress and the palm, where the alligator solitarily glides and the egret sails in chevron, sanctuary beckoned.
  • Even when published, it's read solitarily at one's own pace.
  • When I went out to shine the torch on them, I caught one young lad walking solitarily up the road and we exchanged a few words.


More example sentences
  • And I answer, ‘Actually, we were talking about the solitariness of the ‘hill people.’
  • Nietzsche's iciness and coldness, the Alpine retreat and solitariness all have an effect in producing a complete and total nihilism - ‘no interests at all.’
  • The strongest reason she knew for giving women every means of enlarging their sphere of action was the ultimate solitariness of life.


Middle English: from Latin solitarius, from solus 'alone'.

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