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

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

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

adj devoid of creatures

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

adj lacking companions or companionship

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

adj characterized by or preferring solitude

“a man of a solitary disposition”
“a solitary walk”
lone, lonely
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”
lone, lonesome, only, sole
existing alone or consisting of one entity or part or aspect or individual

n one who lives in solitude

hermit, recluse, solitudinarian, troglodyte
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
solitary confinement
Type of:
the state of being confined

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