Meaning of “lonely” in the English Dictionary

"lonely" in British English

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lonelyadjective

uk /ˈləʊn.li/ us /ˈloʊn.li/

B1 unhappy because you are not with other people:

She gets lonely now that all the kids have left home.
the lonely life of a widower

B2 A lonely place is a long way from where people live:

a lonely stretch of Arizona highway

More examples

  • Da Silva plays a bright, lonely student from New York, adrift in small-town Arizona.
  • He couldn't bear to think of the lonely year ahead.
  • He felt lonely and far from home.
  • I know what it's like to be lonely, so I do feel for her.
  • You can't complain of being lonely when you don't make any effort to meet people.

Idiom(s)

(Definition of “lonely” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"lonely" in American English

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lonelyadjective

us /ˈloʊn·li/

(of someone) feeling sad because you are alone, or (of something) causing this feeling:

a lonely child
my lonely room

A lonely place has no people, buildings, etc.:

a lonely and deserted road
loneliness
noun [ U ] us /ˈloʊn·li·nəs/

Some elderly people live in isolation and loneliness.

(Definition of “lonely” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)