Etymology: Middle English, from al all + one one
Date: 13th century
1. separated from others ; isolated
2. exclusive of anyone or anything else ; only <she alone knows why> 3. a. considered without reference to any other <the children alone would eat that much> b. incomparable, unique <alone among their contemporaries in this respect> • aloneness noun Synonyms: alone, solitary, lonely, lonesome, lone, forlorn, desolate mean isolated from others. alone stresses the objective fact of being by oneself with slighter notion of emotional involvement than most of the remaining terms <everyone needs to be alone sometimes>. solitary may indicate isolation as a chosen course <glorying in the calm of her solitary life> but more often it suggests sadness and a sense of loss <left solitary by the death of his wife>. lonely adds to solitary a suggestion of longing for companionship <felt lonely and forsaken>. lonesome heightens the suggestion of sadness and poignancy <an only child often leads a lonesome life>. lone may replace lonely or lonesome but typically is as objective as alone <a lone robin pecking at the lawn>. forlorn stresses dejection, woe, and listlessness at separation from one held dear <a forlorn lost child>. desolate implies inconsolable grief at loss or bereavement <desolate after her brother's death>. II. adverb Date: 13th century 1. solely, exclusively <the blame is his alone> 2. without aid or support <said he could do it alone>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.