Also found in: Thesaurus, 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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


the state of being alone
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014




  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
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


The quality or state of being alone:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Terrible is aloneness with the judge and avenger of one's own law.
host explains, is that such a bleak sense of utter aloneness, is now not uncommon in a Britain where 3.6 million older people live alone
It is rare to see a film led by two characters over the age of 50 and there is a special friendship that they share where both are covertly conscious of the alternate courses they have taken in life, explicitly aware of the aloneness and solitude that now dangles over them.
I'm still not entirely sure what it all adds up to, but it is provocative, difficult and bleak and leaves you with a feeling of despair and aloneness -- just like the best of the space independents do.
In essence, to the aloneness, singularity, and individuality of Frost's confused fictional character who stands at that critical bifurcation, saying, 'me, myself, and I' must decide which of the two diverging roads to take, the Yoruba world responds with a co-presence which banishes aloneness, a voice of wisdom, prescience, vision, and experience; a superior intellect saying to the lonely traveler: 'You are not alone.
"These groups eliminate the feeling of aloneness and give stories of hope, so you know you don't have to do it alone," Silva told Reuters Health by phone.
Despite (apparently) living in an age of connectedness, a lot of factors make aloneness more common today than in past decades.
I did love a bunch of non-Jewish picture booksthough, now that I consider their subject matterbewildered new immigrants, dreams of seeing a beloved grandfather again, small children's feelings of aloneness, the beautiful isolation of lighthouses, an abandoned house in the woods, a toddler's sense of loss, and the color bluemaybe my therapist and I need to chat.
Nor does the ONS delve too probingly into the reasons for the current rates of gloomy aloneness. Predictably, noises are being made about young people being on the internet all the time, and therefore failing to connect to people offline.
Her sad songs evoke feelings of aloneness and inadequacy, while the happy ones awaken active movement like the tapping of feet to the beat.
But swimming in that sea of aloneness was terrifying."Lewinsky said there are many more women and men whose voices and stories need to be heard before mine.
"Everything with a beating heart knows when aloneness has come to stay," says a married woman living above the burning core of Centralia, Pennsylvania.