• WordNet 3.6
    • adj desolate crushed by grief "depressed and desolate of soul","a low desolate wail"
    • adj desolate providing no shelter or sustenance "bare rocky hills","barren lands","the bleak treeless regions of the high Andes","the desolate surface of the moon","a stark landscape"
    • v desolate cause extensive destruction or ruin utterly "The enemy lay waste to the countryside after the invasion"
    • v desolate reduce in population "The epidemic depopulated the countryside"
    • v desolate leave someone who needs or counts on you; leave in the lurch "The mother deserted her children"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Desolate Destitute of; lacking in. "I were right now of tales desolate ."
    • Desolate Destitute or deprived of inhabitants; deserted; uninhabited; hence, gloomy; as, a desolate isle; a desolate wilderness; a desolate house. "I will make Jerusalem . . . a den of dragons, and I will make the cities of Judah desolate , without an inhabitant.""And the silvery marish flowers that throng
      The desolate creeks and pools among."
    • Desolate Laid waste; in a ruinous condition; neglected; destroyed; as, desolate altars.
    • Desolate Left alone; forsaken; lonely; comfortless. "Have mercy upon, for I am desolate .""Voice of the poor and desolate ."
    • Desolate Lost to shame; dissolute.
    • Desolate To lay waste; to ruin; to ravage; as, a fire desolates a city. "Constructed in the very heart of a desolating war."
    • Desolate To make desolate; to leave alone; to deprive of inhabitants; as, the earth was nearly desolated by the flood.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • desolate To render lonely, as a place or region, by depopulation or devastation; make desert; lay waste; ruin; ravage.
    • desolate To overwhelm with grief; afflict; make very sorry or weary: as, his heart was desolated by his loss; your misfortune desolates me; to be desolated by ennui.
    • desolate Solitary; lonely; without companionship; forsaken.
    • desolate Overwhelmed with grief; deprived of comfort; afflicted.
    • desolate Destitute; lacking.
    • desolate Destitute of inhabitants; uninhabited; lonely; abandoned: as, a desolate wilderness; desolate altars; desolate towers.
    • desolate Lost to shame; abandoned; dissolute.
    • desolate Synonyms Companionless.
    • desolate Forlorn, cheerless, miserable, wretched.
    • desolate Abandoned, unfrequented, lonely, waste, wild, barren, dreary.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Desolate des′o-lāt to make solitary: to deprive of inhabitants: to lay waste
    • adj Desolate solitary: destitute of inhabitants: laid waste
    • ***


  • Ambrose Bierce
    “Creditor. One of a tribe of savages dwelling beyond the Financial Straits and dreaded for their desolating incursions.”
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning
    “How many desolate creatures on the earth have learnt the simple dues of fellowship and social comfort, in a hospital.”
  • Nicholas Hilliard
    Nicholas Hilliard
    “A vacant mind invites dangerous inmates, as a deserted mansion tempts wandering outcasts to enter and take up their abode in its desolate apartments.”
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley
    “Power, like a desolating pestilence, pollutes whatever it touches.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. desolatus, p. p. of desolare, to leave alone, forsake; de-, + solare, to make lonely, solus, alone. See Sole (a.)


In literature:

Then it appears in extensive forests, lending their picturesque shelter to the snowy desolation of the earth.
"Popular Adventure Tales" by Mayne Reid
The landscape, from this wider viewpoint, seemed even more bleak and desolate than before.
"The Fire People" by Ray Cummings
But the thought of the desolate young creature lying there alone struck deep.
"In Connection with the De Willoughby Claim" by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Nothing moved on the still, gray water, there was no sign of life ashore, and they seemed to be steaming into a great desolation.
"Masters of the Wheat-Lands" by Harold Bindloss
Come to me; I am almost desolate; left almost alone in the world.
"My Recollections of Lord Byron" by Teresa Guiccioli
Nearing Yakutsk the country becomes unutterably wild and desolate.
"From Paris to New York by Land" by Harry de Windt
Hugh Ritson sat alone in the old hall, that was now desolate enough.
"A Son of Hagar" by Sir Hall Caine
Husking was the last of the fall work and the last day of husking found Bradley desolately undecided.
"A Spoil of Office" by Hamlin Garland
He who heareth the poor when they cry unto Him, answered the prayer of the desolate.
"The Witch of Salem" by John R. Musick
There lay the saeter, desolate now.
"Lisbeth Longfrock" by Hans Aanrud

In poetry:

Nay! the more desolate,
Because, I know not why,
(Neither for love nor hate)
Mine heart is desolate.
"After Paul Verlaine-I" by Ernest Christopher Dowson
The tumult of my thoughts
Doth but enlarge my woe;
My spirit languishes, my heart
Is desolate and low.
"Psalm 25 part 3" by Isaac Watts
She was my only one,
Oh, then my love how great!
Now she is gone, my heart and home
Are empty desolate
"A Mother's Lament For An Only One" by Nora Pembroke
Patrick, Columcille, Bride --
The Saints of the Irish nation;
Keiran, Kevin beside,
In the death and the desolation.
"A Woman Commends Her Little Son" by Katharine Tynan
The ashes dwindle in the grate,
The last dull spark is gone,
The walls and roof are desolate,
And here I stand alone.
"Connelbush" by Alexander Anderson
'Tis the darling of each, who
Has spirit so mild
As to grieve for the Human--
The sad man or woman,
Or desolate child!
"The Babes In The Wood" by Clara Doty Bates

In news:

We headed out into desolation wilderness on Saturday with enough supplies for three days.
Even when a company publicist whisks him from the beach to Pringle 's temporary store in Miami's once-desolate Design District, Carr elects to stand outside, smoking cigarettes in a loose white tank, his face to the sky.
Rom Nevada's Mountain City the highway runs 84 desolate miles south to Elko with not a settlement or a house in between.
Except in unusually desolating circumstances, human beings do not want to die.
At 11 o'clock on a muggy Sunday morning last month, the normally desolate strip of Pitkin Avenue that borders Bayside Cemetery suddenly sprang to life.
To the west of Interstate 5, parched golden grass covers desolate hills, broken only by newly planted cherry orchards.
Nelson Suarez stands in a desolate warehouse off Florida's Turnpike.
For alternative-rock fans, "Infinity Overhead" might feel like a cruise down Nostalgia Road (or Desolation Row, as the more skeptical call it).
AKHALI SAMGORI, GEORGIA— Four years ago, Jemali Tsiklauri, a trader and traveler who had gone off to find fortune in Moldova, returned penniless to this desolate village to try his hand at living off the land.
Arizona and Sonora, Mexico share a 361 miles stretch of a desolate border with the exception of a few small towns and the city of Nogales.
Following Kerouac's footsteps to Desolation Peak.
A hiker looks out at Hozomeen Mountain from Desolation Peak, where Jack Kerouac spent a summer as a fire lookout in 1956.
Director Joe Carnahan drops you immediately into a snowy, windy, desolate landscape.
For the second time in three days, on desolate Washburn Avenue, Collier County deputies busted a suspected million-dollar marijuana growing operation.
The flea market has settled in for good, the High Line park is on its way, and while there are still a lot of desolate blocks, SoHell is becoming more than a grungy corridor for commuters to rush through.