Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Idioms.


1. Being apart from others; solitary.
2. Being without anyone or anything else; only.
3. Considered separately from all others of the same class.
4. Being without equal; unique.
1. Without others: sang alone while the choir listened.
2. Without help: carried the suitcases alone.
3. Exclusively; only: The burden of proof rests on the prosecution alone.

[Middle English : al, all; see all + one, one; see one.]

a·lone′ness n.
Synonyms: alone, lonely, lonesome, solitary
These adjectives describe lack of companionship. Alone emphasizes being apart from others but does not necessarily imply unhappiness: "The first lesson reading teaches is how to be alone" (Jonathan Franzen).
Lonely and lonesome usually connote painful awareness of being alone: "'No doubt they are dead,' she thought, and felt ... sadder and ... lonelier for the thought" (Ouida)."You must keep up your spirits, mother, and not be lonesome because I'm not at home" (Charles Dickens).
Solitary often stresses physical isolation that is self-imposed: I thoroughly enjoyed my solitary dinner.


the state of being alone




  1. Alone as a nomad —Richard Ford
  2. Alone as a scarecrow —Truman Capote
  3. Alone as a wanderer in the desert —Anon
  4. Alone … like a lost bit of driftwood —Harvey Swados
  5. Alone, like a planet —Richard Lourie
  6. Alone … like bobbing corks —Jean Anouilh

    Playwright Anouilh’s simile from Thieves’ Carnival describes two characters who thus bob about because their adventures are over.

  7. Alone like some deserted world —Bayard Taylor
  8. Like the moon am I, that cannot shine alone —Michelangelo
  9. [Building] as isolated as an offshore lighthouse —Nicholas Proffitt
  10. By himself he felt cold and lifeless, like a match unlighted in a box —Stefan Zweig

    The simile, from a short story entitled The Burning Secret, describes a man content only in the company of others.

  11. Feel lonely as a comet —Anton Chekhov, letter to his wife
  12. Felt like an island —Derek Lambert
  13. In your absence it is like rising every day to a sunless sky —Benjamin Disraeli
  14. Isolated as if it were a fort in the sea or a log-hut in the forest —Israel Zangwill
  15. Isolated like a tomb —Ian Kennedy Martin
  16. Left him standing like a stump —Willa Cather
  17. Loneliness became as visible as breath that turned to vapor —Tennessee Williams
  18. Loneliness fell over me and covered my face like a sheet —Susan Fromberg Schaeffer
  19. Loneliness overcame him like a suffocating guilt —Irving Stone
  20. Loneliness … rises like an exhalation from the American landscape —Van Wyck Brooks
  21. Loneliness surrounded Katherine like a high black fence —Tess Slesinger
  22. (I wandered) lonely as a cloud —William Wordsworth

    One of the poet’s most famous lines.

  23. Lonely as a Hopper landscape —Brian Moore
  24. Lonely as a lighthouse —Raymond Chandler
  25. Lonely as a wave of the sea —Katherine Anne Porter
  26. Lonely as priests —Anon
  27. Lonely as Sunday —Mark Twain
  28. The lonely, like the lame, are often drawn to one another —Harvey Swados
  29. Lonesome as a walnut rolling in a barrel —Edna Ferber
  30. the A sharp way down at the left-hand end of the keyboard —O. Henry
  31. Lone women, like empty houses, perish —Christopher Marlowe
  32. (And I) sit by myself like a cobweb on a shelf —Oscar Hammerstein II, from lyric for Oklahoma

    See Also: SITTING

  33. Solitary as a lonely eel —Richard Ford
  34. Solitary as a tomb —Victor Hugo
  35. Solitary as an explorer —Donald Hall
  36. Solitary as an oyster —Charles Dickens
  37. A solitary figure, like the king on a playing card —Marcel Proust
  38. Solitary … like a swallow left behind at the migrating season of his tribe —Joseph Conrad
  39. Solitude affects some people like wine; they must not take too much of it, for it flies to the head —Mary Coleridge
  40. Solitude is as needful to the imagination as society is wholesome for the character —James Russell Lowell
  41. Solitude … is like Spanish moss which finally suffocates the tree it hangs on —Anaîs Nin
  42. Solitude swells the inner space like a balloon —May Sarton
  43. Solitude wrapped him like a cloak —Francine du Plessix Gray
  44. Stand … alone, like a small figure in a barren landscape in an old book —John D. MacDonald
  45. Stand alone on an empty page like a period put down in a snowfall —William H. Gass
  46. Survive like a lonely dinosaur —Mary McCarthy
  47. (Celibate and) unattached, like a pathetic old aunt —Alice McDermott
  48. Undisturbed as some old tomb —Edgar Allen Poe
  49. Walk alone like one that had the pestilence —William Shakespeare

    In common usage, most generally “Like one who has the plague,” or whatever contagious disease might be afoot.

  50. We whirl along like leaves, and nobody knows, nobody cares where we fall —Katherine Mansfield
  51. When I am alone, I feel like a day-old glass of water —Diane Wakoski
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.aloneness - a disposition toward being alone
friendlessness - being without friends
reclusiveness - a disposition to prefer seclusion or isolation
disposition, temperament - your usual mood; "he has a happy disposition"


The quality or state of being alone:
References in classic literature ?
Terrible is aloneness with the judge and avenger of one's own law.
It is in this desert that the ancient phrase "breaking the heart" applies to whatever arises as a sense of loss, of failure, of absolute aloneness that is, after all, a result of contemplative life and prayer.
It matters to me that someone who might go on to be a doctor would have a chance to read Tolstoy's "Death of Ivan Ilych" and to live, as the story compels you to, through the experience of the complete aloneness of facing your death.
I imagined The Smiths were about this poetry of aloneness but they're not at all.
One group features vaguely defined, silhouetted figures that form a crowd but nonetheless maintain a distinct feeling of aloneness.
Cut off from the Welsh valleys as he was from his wife, Gweno, a teacher n Mountain Ash, and from his parents in Aberdare, he experienced Only aloneness, swinging slowly Down the cold orbit of an older world Than any they predicted in the schools.
Paert's contribution is astute in the contrast her essay draws between the Hesychast theology of inner solitude and aloneness with the general emphasis on Orthodoxy's spiritual collectivism.
These reflections in solitude are not mere texts of aloneness, and, even though personal, the poems never parade the egocentric details of some "confessional" poets.
In the face of the sober realities of the human estate like aloneness, defeat, and death, the discriminations of race are revealed to be hollow as all humans, in their full variegated complexions, men and women, are shown to be kindred sufferers.
Wandering alone in the wilderness is a distinct experience, a luxury in an age of less and less aloneness (thank you, Facebook) and less and less wilderness.
I am not referring so much to the physical act of being alone (although that is part of it) as much as emotional aloneness.
Clemente is no stranger to the wheel of appetite represented by the serpent; Hunger might stand as the insignia of his entire oeuvre, which explores with such nuance cycles of desire and satiation, aloneness and merging, and the eternal recurrence of separation after union.