Definition of solitary in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsɒlɪt(ə)ri/


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/itself, on one's/its own, (all) alone, friendless;
antisocial, unsociable, withdrawn, reclusive, cloistered, introverted, hermitic;
North American  lonesome
1.1(Of a place) secluded or isolated: solitary farmsteads
More example sentences
  • 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, out of the way, outlying, off the beaten track, in the depths of …, hard to find, lonely, in the back of beyond, in the hinterlands, off the map, in the middle of nowhere, godforsaken, obscure, inaccessible, cut-off, tucked away, unreachable;
faraway, far-flung;
secluded, hidden, concealed, private, unfrequented, unvisited, undisturbed, sequestered, desolate;
North American  in the backwoods, lonesome;
South African  in the backveld, in the platteland;
Australian/New Zealand  in the backblocks, in the booay
informal unget-at-able, in the sticks
North American informal jerkwater, in the tall timbers, in the boondocks
Australian/New Zealand informal Barcoo, beyond the black stump
literary lone
archaic unapproachable
1.2(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.
1.3(Of a flower or other part) borne singly: each spider-like bloom is solitary
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.
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.
single, lone, sole, unique, only, one, individual;

noun (plural solitaries)

1A recluse or hermit: he had something of the solitary about him
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.
loner, lone wolf, introvert, recluse, hermit;
in Japan hikikomori
rare eremite, anchorite, anchoress, stylite, cenobite
2 informal short for solitary confinement.
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.



Pronunciation: /ˈsɒlɪtrəli/
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.


Pronunciation: /ˈsɒlɪtrɪnəs/
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'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: soli|tary

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