1. State of being alone, or withdrawn from society; a lonely life; loneliness. Whosoever is delighted with solitude is either a wild beast or a god. (bacon) O Solitude! where are the charms That sages have seen in thy face? (Cowper)
retirement is a withdrawal from general society, implying that a person has been engaged in its scenes. Solitude describes the fact that a person is alone; seclusion, that he is shut out from others, usually by his own choice; loneliness, that he feels the pain and oppression of being alone. Hence, retirement is opposed to a gay, active, or public life; solitude, to society; seclusion, to freedom of access on the part of others; and loneliness, enjoyment of that society which the heart demands. O blest retirement, friend to life's decline. (goldsmith) Such only can enjoy the country who are capable of thinking when they are there; then they are prepared for solitude; and in that [the country] solitude is prepared for them. (Dryden) It is a place of seclusion from the external world. ([[bp. Horsley) These evils . . . Seem likely to reduce it [a city] ere long to the loneliness and the insignificance of a village. (Eustace)
Origin: F, from L. Solitudo, solus alone. See Sole.