des·o·late (dĕsə-lĭt, dĕz-)
a. Devoid of inhabitants; deserted: "streets which were usually so thronged now grown desolate" (Daniel Defoe).
b. Barren; lifeless: the rocky, desolate surface of the moon.
2. Feeling, showing, causing, or expressing sadness or loneliness. See Synonyms at sad.
tr.v. (-lāt′) des·o·lat·ed, des·o·lat·ing, des·o·lates
1. To rid or deprive of inhabitants.
2. To lay waste; devastate: "Here we have no wars to desolate our fields" (Michel Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur).
3. To forsake; abandon.
4. To make lonely, forlorn, or wretched.
[Middle English desolat, from Latin dēsōlātus, past participle of dēsōlāre, to abandon : dē-, de- + sōlus, alone; see s(w)e- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
deso·lat′er, deso·la′tor n.
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.