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From lone +‎ -ly, or from an apheretic shortening of alonely. See lone.



lonely (comparative lonelier, superlative loneliest)

  1. Unhappy because of feeling isolated from contact with other people.
    • 1941, “At Last”, Mack Gordon, Harry Warren (music), performed by Glenn Miller, Ray Eberle (vocals), and Pat Friday (vocals):
      At last
      My love has come along
      My lonely days are over
      And life is like a song
    • 1956, “Heartbreak Hotel”, Mae Boren Axton, Tommy Durden, Elvis Presley (lyrics), performed by Elvis Presley:
      Well, since my baby left me,
      Well, I found a new place to dwell.
      Well, it's down at the end of Lonely Street
      At Heartbreak Hotel.
      Where I'll be, I'll be so lonely, baby
      Well, I'm so lonely
      I'll be so lonely, I could die.
    • 2013 June 8, “The new masters and commanders”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8839, page 52:
      From the ground, Colombo’s port does not look like much. Those entering it are greeted by wire fences, walls dating back to colonial times and security posts. For mariners leaving the port after lonely nights on the high seas, the delights of the B52 Night Club and Stallion Pub lie a stumble away.
  2. (of a place or time) Unfrequented by people; desolate.
    • 1906, Lord Dunsany [i.e., Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany], Time and the Gods[1], London: William Heineman, →OCLC, page 2:
      Only to those to whom in lonely passes in the night the gods have spoken, leaning through the stars, to those that have heard the voices of the gods above the morning or seen Their faces bending above the sea, only to those hath it been given to see Sardathrion, to stand where her pinnacles gathered together in the night fresh from the dreams of gods.
  3. (of a person) Without companions; solitary.


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