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

adj of plants and animals; not growing or living in groups or colonies

solitary bees”
Synonyms:
nongregarious, nonsocial
ungregarious
(of animals) not gregarious

adj devoid of creatures

“a solitary retreat”
Synonyms:
lonely, unfrequented
uninhabited
not having inhabitants; not lived in

adj lacking companions or companionship

“a solitary traveler”
Synonyms:
alone, lone, lonely
unaccompanied
being without an escort

adj 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

adj 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

n one who lives in solitude

Synonyms:
hermit, recluse, solitudinarian, troglodyte
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

n confinement of a prisoner in isolation from other prisoners

“he was held in solitary
Synonyms:
solitary confinement
Type of:
confinement
the state of being confined

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a life-long learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.