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[lohn-lee] /ˈloʊn li/
adjective, lonelier, loneliest.
affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone; lonesome.
destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship, intercourse, support, etc.:
a lonely exile.
lone; solitary; without company; companionless.
remote from places of human habitation; desolate; unfrequented; bleak:
a lonely road.
standing apart; isolated:
a lonely tower.
Origin of lonely
1600-10; lone + -ly
Related forms
lonelily, adverb
loneliness, lonelihood, noun
unlonely, adjective
1. See alone. 4. uninhabited, unpopulated. 5. secluded. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for lonely
  • Doctors have known for a long time that feeling lonely can make you physically sick, but until now they did not know why.
  • He strolled the waterfront with the beer thudding inside his head, a lonely feeling pulling at his heart.
  • It can be lonely at the top, especially when it comes to global university rankings.
  • It is not that the lonely and the gregarious are genetically different from each other.
  • The lonely polar bear-the unofficial mascot of global warming.
  • Sleeping with a lonely heart brings a hormone jolt in the morning.
  • They are bleak and lonely and depressing and beautiful.
  • If it's harder to find privacy, it's also harder to be lonely.
  • Such signals could warn other elephants of predators, help a lonely elephant find a mate, or direct them towards food and water.
  • For a newly formed amino acid in the early ocean, it must have been a lonely life indeed.
British Dictionary definitions for lonely


adjective -lier, -liest
unhappy as a result of being without the companionship of others: a lonely man
causing or resulting from the state of being alone: a lonely existence
isolated, unfrequented, or desolate
without companions; solitary
Derived Forms
loneliness, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for lonely

c.1600, "solitary, lone," from lone + -ly (1). Meaning "dejected for want of company" is from 1811. Lonely heart (n.) "a lonely-hearted person" is from 1922. Lonely hearted (adj.) is attested from 1820.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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