Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Idioms, Encyclopedia.


1. Existing, living, or going without others; alone: a solitary traveler. See Synonyms at alone.
2. Happening, done, or made alone: a solitary evening; solitary pursuits such as reading and sewing.
3. Remote from civilization; secluded: a solitary retreat.
4. Zoology Living alone or in pairs only: solitary wasps; solitary sparrows.
5. Single and set apart from others: a solitary instance of cowardice.
n. pl. sol·i·tar·ies
1. A person who lives alone; a recluse.
2. Solitary confinement.

[Middle English, from Old French solitaire, from Latin sōlitārius, from sōlitās, solitude, from sōlus, alone; see s(w)e- in Indo-European roots.]

sol′i·tar′i·ly (-târ′ə-lē) adv.
sol′i·tar′i·ness n.
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.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.solitarily - in solitude; "a hermit chooses to live solitarily"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


Without the presence or aid of another:
Idioms: all by one's lonesome, by oneself.
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 ?
The good MacW- would not even come out to his meals, and fed solitarily in his holy of holies from a tray covered with a white napkin.
She came solitarily down the gravel walka Miss Martin just appearing at the door, and parting with her seemingly with ceremonious civility.
Therefore, on the day when this plan slowly and solitarily ripened, shall break forth, it will break forthwith all the conditions of success which always accompany an unforeseen event.
The freshness of the day, the singing of the birds, the beauty of the waving grass, the deep green leaves, the wild flowers, and the thousand exquisite scents and sounds that floated in the air-- deep joys to most of us, but most of all to those whose life is in a crowd or who live solitarily in great cities as in the bucket of a human well--sunk into their breasts and made them very glad.
We say the gravel he trod under his feet, for D'Artagnan made these reflections while walking solitarily along a pretty little road which led from the camp to the village of Angoutin.
d'Artagnan, to forcing him to travel two hundred leagues solitarily to reach home at La Fere; will you not, Raoul?"
Another potent way to reverse power-induced brain damage is to periodically get out of the protected silos of power and solitarily observe the quotidian interactions of everyday folks-their humour, laughter, fights, etc.
North American Bam Swallows breed solitarily in human structures or in colonies containing over 200 breeding pairs (Cramp, 1988).
This explains why end-of-life decisions are often taken solitarily by physician caregivers (61).
The lower HEV seroprevalence in hares than in rabbits might be explained by the fact that hares live solitarily and have low-density populations, [approximately equal to]12-20 animals/100 ha in the sampling region; wild rabbits live in groups of [approximately equal to] 15 that are also proximal to other groups.
Exposure of passive smoking in pregnant women solitarily demonstrated elevated risks for suicidal thoughts in the second trimester (OR = 7.63; 95% CI = 3.25-17.93) and third trimester (OR = 4.03; 95% CI = 1.76-9.23).22 Women with exposure of passive smoking had a greater than before risk of depression (OR = 1.71; 95% CI = 1.27-2.29).
Sources said the CAA was not entitled to solitarily take a decision for removing jets, as the authority was responsibility of the collectorate of customs.