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lonely +‎ -ness


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈloʊnlinəs/
  • (file)


loneliness (countable and uncountable, plural lonelinesses)

  1. A feeling of depression resulting from being alone or from having no companions.
  2. The condition or state of being alone or having no companions.
    • 1645, John Milton, Tetrachordon, p. 7,[4]
      Hitherto all things that have bin nam’d, were approv’d of God to be very good: lonelines is the first thing which Gods eye nam’d not good []
    • 1657, Richard Ligon, A True & Exact History of the Island of Barbados, London: Humphrey Moseley, Dedicatory letter to the Bishop of Salisbury,[5]
      [I] was designing a piece of Landscape [] wherein I meant to expresse [] the beauties of the Vegetables, that do adorn that place, in the highest perfection I could: But presently after, being cast into Prison, I was deprived both of light and lonelinesse, two main helpers in that Art []
    • 1838, Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, London: Richard Bentley, Volume I, Chapter 2, p. 20,[6]
      Wretched as were the little companions in misery he was leaving behind, they were the only friends he had ever known; and a sense of his loneliness in the great wide world sank into the child’s heart for the first time.
  3. The state of being unfrequented or devoid of human activity (of a place or time).
    • 1794, Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho, London: G.G. & J. Robinson, Volume 4, Chapter 3, p. 50,[7]
      [] as she sat at her bed-side, indulging melancholy reveries, which the loneliness of the hour assisted []
    • 1877, Mayne Reid, Gwen Wynn: A Romance of the Wye, London: Tinsley Bros., Volume 3, Chapter 4, p. 34,[8]
      In addition, the very loneliness of the road had its charm for him; since only at rare intervals is house seen by its side, and rarer still living creature encountered upon it.
    • 1953, C. S. Lewis, The Silver Chair, New York: Scholastic, 1987, Chapter 5, pp. 57-58,[9]
      The rest was all flat marsh. It would have been a depressing place on a wet evening. Seen under a morning sun, with a fresh wind blowing, and the air filled with the crying of birds, there was something fine and fresh and clean about its loneliness.
  4. (obsolete) A desire to be alone; disposition to solitude.