AskDefine | Define solitary

Dictionary Definition

solitary adj
1 characterized by or preferring solitude in mode of life; "the eremitic element in the life of a religious colony"; "a lone wolf"; "a man of a solitary disposition" [syn: eremitic, eremitical, lone(a)]
2 of plants and animals; not growing or living in groups or colonies; "solitary bees" [syn: nongregarious, nonsocial]
3 lacking companions or companionship; "he was alone when we met him"; "she is alone much of the time"; "the lone skier on the mountain"; "a lonely fisherman stood on a tuft of gravel"; "a lonely soul"; "a solitary traveler" [syn: alone(p), lone(a), lonely(a)]
4 enjoyed or performed alone; "a lonely existence"; "his lonely room"; "took a solitary walk"; "enjoyed her solitary dinner"; "solitary pursuits such as reading" [syn: lonely(a)]
5 being the only one; single and isolated from others; "the lone doctor in the entire county"; "a lonesome pine"; "an only child"; "the sole heir"; "the sole example"; "a solitary instance of cowardice"; "a solitary speck in the sky" [syn: lone(a), lonesome(a), only(a), sole(a), solitary(a)]
6 separated from or unfrequented by others; remote or secluded; "a lonely crossroads"; "a solitary retreat"; "a trail leading to an unfrequented lake" [syn: lonely(a), unfrequented]


1 confinement of a prisoner in isolation from other prisoners; "he was held in solitary" [syn: solitary confinement]
2 one who lives in solitude [syn: hermit, recluse, solitudinarian, troglodyte]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. One who lives alone, or in solitude; an anchoret; a hermit; a recluse.


one who lives alone


  1. Living or being by one's self; having no companion present; being without associates; single; alone; lonely.
  2. Performed, passed, or endured alone; as, a solitary journey; a solitary life.
  3. Not much visited or frequented; remote from society; retired; lonely; as, a solitary residence or place.
  4. Not inhabited or occupied; without signs of inhabitants or occupation; desolate; deserted; silent; still; hence, gloomy; dismal; as, the solitary desert.
  5. Single; individual; sole; as, a solitary instance of vengeance; a solitary example.
  6. Not associated with others of the same kind.

Extensive Definition

A solitary (Latin solus, meaning alone) person, animal or object is one which is not usually in the companionship of others of its type. Solitary activities are those which do not require (or indeed preclude) the presence of others, such as walking, listening to music, cooking or painting.
Those who find renewed personal vigor through engaging in solitary activities are often referred to as introverts; as opposed to extroverts, who find renewed vigor is more likely to follow engagement in activities based upon interpersonal contact.
In a penal setting, the term "in solitary" often refers to being punished through forced solitary confinement.
Some animals live a mostly solitary life, only looking for others in mating season, e.g. feral cats and bears.

See also

solitary in Czech: Solitér
solitary in Dutch: Solitair

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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