solitary

If you're a lone wolf, a one-man band, a rugged individualist, or an island unto yourself, you prefer to be solitary — in other words, alone or single. The term can be used to describe a person, a place, or a thing.

Solitary comes to us from the Latin solus, which means alone. Note its similarity to words like solo and, for all you card players out there, solitaire. You can take a solitary walk, during which you don't utter a solitary word, but pause to admire a solitary green shoot peeping through the snow. Solitary is also common in the prison world: Inmates on Alcatraz who were deemed too dangerous to mingle with their fellows were put in solitary confinement cells.

Definitions of solitary
  1. adjective
    of plants and animals; not growing or living in groups or colonies
    solitary bees”
    synonyms: nongregarious, nonsocial
    ungregarious
    (of animals) not gregarious
  2. adjective
    devoid of creatures
    “a solitary retreat”
    synonyms: lonely, unfrequented
    uninhabited
    not having inhabitants; not lived in
  3. adjective
    lacking companions or companionship
    “a solitary traveler”
    synonyms: alone, lone, lonely
    unaccompanied
    being without an escort
  4. adjective
    characterized by or preferring solitude
    “a man of a solitary disposition”
    “a solitary walk”
    synonyms: lone, lonely
    unsocial
    not seeking or given to association; being or living without companions
  5. adjective
    being the only one; single and isolated from others
    “a solitary instance of cowardice”
    “a solitary speck in the sky”
    synonyms: lone, lonesome, only, sole
    single
    existing alone or consisting of one entity or part or aspect or individual
  6. noun
    one who lives in solitude
    synonyms: hermit, recluse, solitudinarian, troglodyte
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    examples:
    St. John the Baptist
    (New Testament) a preacher and hermit and forerunner of Jesus (whom he baptized); was beheaded by Herod at the request of Salome
    type of:
    lone hand, lone wolf, loner
    a person who avoids the company or assistance of others
  7. noun
    confinement of a prisoner in isolation from other prisoners
    “he was held in solitary
    synonyms: solitary confinement
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    type of:
    confinement
    the state of being confined
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