Try Our Apps


Gobble up these 8 terms for eating


[adjective des-uh-lit; verb des-uh-leyt] /adjective ˈdɛs ə lɪt; verb ˈdɛs əˌleɪt/
barren or laid waste; devastated:
a treeless, desolate landscape.
deprived or destitute of inhabitants; deserted; uninhabited.
solitary; lonely:
a desolate place.
having the feeling of being abandoned by friends or by hope; forlorn.
dreary; dismal; gloomy:
desolate prospects.
verb (used with object), desolated, desolating.
to lay waste; devastate.
to deprive of inhabitants; depopulate.
to make disconsolate.
to forsake or abandon.
Origin of desolate
1325-75; Middle English < Latin dēsōlātus forsaken, past participle of dēsōlāre, equivalent to dē- de- + sōlāre to make lonely, derivative of sōlus sole1; see -ate1
Related forms
desolately, adverb
desolateness, noun
desolater, desolator, noun
quasi-desolate, adjective
quasi-desolately, adverb
Can be confused
desolate, dissolute (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. ravaged. 2. desert. 4. lonesome, lost; miserable, wretched, woebegone, woeful, inconsolable, cheerless, hopeless. Desolate, disconsolate, forlorn suggest one who is in a sad and wretched condition. The desolate person is deprived of human consolation, relationships, or presence: desolate and despairing. The disconsolate person is aware of the efforts of others to console and comfort, but is unable to be relieved or cheered by them: She remained disconsolate even in the midst of friends. The forlorn person is lost, deserted, or forsaken by friends: wretched and forlorn in a strange city. 6. ravage, ruin. 8. sadden, depress. 9. desert.
4. delighted, happy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for desolateness
Historical Examples
  • Despite all the honors and blandishments of her position, the old feeling of desolateness came upon her.

  • The desolateness of the poor girls had perhaps been greater than their grief.

    Two Penniless Princesses Charlotte M. Yonge
  • What is there in this sound that suggests the tenderness of spring, the despair of a summer night, the desolateness of young love?

    Being a Boy Charles Dudley Warner
  • Its newness and desolateness of appearance revolted me, just then.

    Basil Wilkie Collins
  • There was something in their wild cawing, in the desolateness of the fields, in the rush of the cold river, that suited his mood.

  • His desolateness at an hotel or boarding-house is proverbial.

  • It was a young horse, seeking in its desolateness the neighbourhood of a human being.

    Mary Bjornstjerne Bjornson
  • "Which art in heaven—" but heaven was so far away and looked so cruelly serene to her in her desolateness and danger!

    The Girl from Montana Grace Livingston Hill
  • There was a kind of desolateness in our life, though we did not understand it at the time.

    The Two Sides of the Shield Charlotte M. Yonge
  • They are found in the desolateness which is felt in many home circles, in bidding adieu to husbands, sons, and brothers.

    The Arctic Whaleman Lewis Holmes
British Dictionary definitions for desolateness


adjective (ˈdɛsəlɪt)
uninhabited; deserted
made uninhabitable; laid waste; devastated
without friends, hope, or encouragement; forlorn, wretched, or abandoned
gloomy or dismal; depressing
verb (transitive) (ˈdɛsəˌleɪt)
to deprive of inhabitants; depopulate
to make barren or lay waste; devastate
to make wretched or forlorn
to forsake or abandon
Derived Forms
desolater, desolator, noun
desolately, adverb
desolateness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin dēsōlāre to leave alone, from de- + sōlāre to make lonely, lay waste, from sōlus alone
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for desolateness



mid-14c., "without companions," also "uninhabited," from Latin desolatus, past participle of desolare "leave alone, desert," from de- "completely" (see de-) + solare "make lonely," from solus "alone" (see sole (adj.)). Sense of "joyless" is 15c.


late 14c., from desolate (adj.). Related: Desolated; desolating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Word Value for desolateness

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for desolateness