Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.
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.
See Also: ABANDONMENT
- Alone as a nomad —Richard Ford
- Alone as a scarecrow —Truman Capote
- Alone as a wanderer in the desert —Anon
- Alone … like a lost bit of driftwood —Harvey Swados
- Alone, like a planet —Richard Lourie
- 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.
- Alone like some deserted world —Bayard Taylor
- Like the moon am I, that cannot shine alone —Michelangelo
- [Building] as isolated as an offshore lighthouse —Nicholas Proffitt
- 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.
- Feel lonely as a comet —Anton Chekhov, letter to his wife
- Felt like an island —Derek Lambert
- In your absence it is like rising every day to a sunless sky —Benjamin Disraeli
- Isolated as if it were a fort in the sea or a log-hut in the forest —Israel Zangwill
- Isolated like a tomb —Ian Kennedy Martin
- Left him standing like a stump —Willa Cather
- Loneliness became as visible as breath that turned to vapor —Tennessee Williams
- Loneliness fell over me and covered my face like a sheet —Susan Fromberg Schaeffer
- Loneliness overcame him like a suffocating guilt —Irving Stone
- Loneliness … rises like an exhalation from the American landscape —Van Wyck Brooks
- Loneliness surrounded Katherine like a high black fence —Tess Slesinger
- (I wandered) lonely as a cloud —William Wordsworth
One of the poet’s most famous lines.
- Lonely as a Hopper landscape —Brian Moore
- Lonely as a lighthouse —Raymond Chandler
- Lonely as a wave of the sea —Katherine Anne Porter
- Lonely as priests —Anon
- Lonely as Sunday —Mark Twain
- The lonely, like the lame, are often drawn to one another —Harvey Swados
- Lonesome as a walnut rolling in a barrel —Edna Ferber
- Lonesome..like the A sharp way down at the left-hand end of the keyboard —O. Henry
- Lone women, like empty houses, perish —Christopher Marlowe
- (And I) sit by myself like a cobweb on a shelf —Oscar Hammerstein II, from lyric for Oklahoma
See Also: SITTING
- Solitary as a lonely eel —Richard Ford
- Solitary as a tomb —Victor Hugo
- Solitary as an explorer —Donald Hall
- Solitary as an oyster —Charles Dickens
- A solitary figure, like the king on a playing card —Marcel Proust
- Solitary … like a swallow left behind at the migrating season of his tribe —Joseph Conrad
- Solitude affects some people like wine; they must not take too much of it, for it flies to the head —Mary Coleridge
- Solitude is as needful to the imagination as society is wholesome for the character —James Russell Lowell
- Solitude … is like Spanish moss which finally suffocates the tree it hangs on —Anaîs Nin
- Solitude swells the inner space like a balloon —May Sarton
- Solitude wrapped him like a cloak —Francine du Plessix Gray
- Stand … alone, like a small figure in a barren landscape in an old book —John D. MacDonald
- Stand alone on an empty page like a period put down in a snowfall —William H. Gass
- Survive like a lonely dinosaur —Mary McCarthy
- (Celibate and) unattached, like a pathetic old aunt —Alice McDermott
- Undisturbed as some old tomb —Edgar Allen Poe
- 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.
- We whirl along like leaves, and nobody knows, nobody cares where we fall —Katherine Mansfield
- When I am alone, I feel like a day-old glass of water —Diane Wakoski
|Noun||1.||aloneness - a disposition toward being alone|
friendlessness - being without friends
reclusiveness - a disposition to prefer seclusion or isolation