1. Being apart from others; solitary.
2. Being without anyone or anything else; only.
3. Considered separately from all others of the same class.
4. Being without equal; unique.
1. Without others: sang alone while the choir listened.
2. Without help: carried the suitcases alone.
3. Exclusively; only: The burden of proof rests on the prosecution alone.
Synonyms: alone, lonely, lonesome, solitary
These adjectives describe lack of companionship. Alone emphasizes being apart from others but does not necessarily imply unhappiness: "The first lesson reading teaches is how to be alone" (Jonathan Franzen).
Lonely and lonesome usually connote painful awareness of being alone: "'No doubt they are dead,' she thought, and felt ... sadder and ... lonelier for the thought" (Ouida). "You must keep up your spirits, mother, and not be lonesome because I'm not at home" (Charles Dickens).
Solitary often stresses physical isolation that is self-imposed: I thoroughly enjoyed my solitary dinner.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.