1. barren or laid waste; devastated: a treeless, desolate landscape.
  2. deprived or destitute of inhabitants; deserted; uninhabited.
  3. solitary; lonely: a desolate place.
  4. having the feeling of being abandoned by friends or by hope; forlorn.
  5. dreary; dismal; gloomy: desolate prospects.

verb (used with object), des·o·lat·ed, des·o·lat·ing.

  1. to lay waste; devastate.
  2. to deprive of inhabitants; depopulate.
  3. to make disconsolate.
  4. to forsake or abandon.

adjective (ˈdɛsəlɪt)

  1. uninhabited; deserted
  2. made uninhabitable; laid waste; devastated
  3. without friends, hope, or encouragement; forlorn, wretched, or abandoned
  4. gloomy or dismal; depressing

verb (ˈdɛsəˌleɪt) (tr)

  1. to deprive of inhabitants; depopulate
  2. to make barren or lay waste; devastate
  3. to make wretched or forlorn
  4. to forsake or abandon

mid-14c., “without companions,” also “uninhabited,” from Latin desolatus, past participle of desolare “leave alone, desert,” from de- “completely” (see de-) + solare “make lonely,” from solus “alone” (see sole (adj.)). Sense of “joyless” is 15c.


late 14c., from desolate (adj.). Related: Desolated; desolating.

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