• WordNet 3.6
    • n desolation an event that results in total destruction
    • n desolation sadness resulting from being forsaken or abandoned
    • n desolation a bleak and desolate atmosphere "the nakedness of the landscape"
    • n desolation the state of being decayed or destroyed
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Desolation A place or country wasted and forsaken. "How is Babylon become a desolation !"
    • Desolation The act of desolating or laying waste; destruction of inhabitants; depopulation. "Unto the end of the war desolations are determined."
    • Desolation The state of being desolated or laid waste; ruin; solitariness; destitution; gloominess. "You would have sold your king to slaughter, . . . And his whole kingdom into desolation ."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n desolation The act of desolating; destruction or expulsion of inhabitants; devastation; a laying waste.
    • n desolation A desolate place; a waste, devastated, or lifeless place or region.
    • n desolation A desolate or desolated condition or state; destruction; ruin.
    • n desolation Personal affliction; the state of being desolate or forsaken; sadness.
    • n desolation Synonyms Ravage.
    • n desolation Misery, wretchedness, gloom.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Desolation waste: destruction: a place desolated
    • ***


  • 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
F. désolation, L. desolatio,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. desolāre, -ātumde, inten., and solāre, to make alone—solus, alone.


In literature:

There would be plain sailing now to the head of the Canyon of Desolation.
"A Canyon Voyage" by Frederick S. Dellenbaugh
Here it is as bare and desolate as on the face of the moon.
"From Pole to Pole" by Sven Anders Hedin
No more desolate place could well be imagined.
"Other Main-Travelled Roads" by Hamlin Garland
Could he bring himself to desolate her by a refusal?
"Clayhanger" by Arnold Bennett
A wind arose and moaned in the desolate streets of the dark city.
"Before the Dawn" by Joseph Alexander Altsheler
Desolate as the country appears, large herds of wild oxen rove over it.
"Great African Travellers" by W.H.G. Kingston
Every day we mounted higher and higher, the scenery becoming more wild, barren, and desolate.
"Manco, the Peruvian Chief" by W.H.G. Kingston
As the sun came up over the mountains it lit up a dreary and desolate scene.
"Adrift in the Wilds" by Edward S. Ellis
Poor child, yours has been a desolate position for so young a girl.
"Agatha's Husband A Novel" by Dinah Maria Craik (AKA: Dinah Maria Mulock)
A scene of desolation met their view as they passed along.
"Three Years in the Sixth Corps" by George T. Stevens

In poetry:

Thus I sit desolate and mourn,
Mine eyes grow dull with grief;
How long, my Lord, ere thou return,
And bring my soul relief?
"Pleading For Mercy" by John Newton
But then a voice came sweet and low–
I turn'd, and near me sate
A woman with a mourner's brow,
Pale, yet not desolate.
"The Spanish Chapel" by Felicia Dorothea Hemans
Helpless, unfriended, forsaken;
Haunted and tracked by the Past,
With fragments of pitiless voices,
And desolate faces aghast!
"For Ever" by Henry Kendall
In vain;--what can reanimate
A heart too early desolate?
It had been his, it could not save,
But it could follow to his grave.
"The Troubadour. Canto 4" by Letitia Elizabeth Landon
This land, through which his pilgrims go,
Is desolate and dry;
But streams of grace from him o'erflow
Their thirst to satisfy.
"The Refuge, River, And Rock Of The Church" by John Newton
Then, amid the desolation,
Stand—a helpless human thing;
Cry: 'We are a glorious nation!
Love the church! and serve the king!'
"A Song For May" by Ernest Jones

In news:

Josh Hamilton's long road from desolation to the top.
John Kelly's Washington: A Sudden Desolation at Both Ends of Metro Trains.
Mmmmhhhmm, kind of desolate .
In Eurythmics' "Here Comes the Rain Again" she traded its cool electronic pulses for her own piano chords to reveal a desolate ballad.
Where Desolation Is Just a Mirage.
Hurricane Sandy leaves Washington, DC, drenched and desolate.
To an outsider, they seem like little more than desolate rocks rising sharply out of the sea, no signs of human habitation on their austere remote location in the East China Sea .
The Valley of Desolation on Dominica is an eerie, treeless swath of volcanic devastation striped black and orange with mineral deposits and swirling with mist and steam.
The setting was a stark industrial space, with tin ceilings and overhanging pipes, in a desolate neighborhood of cast-iron buildings and scruffy warehouses.
Few are the places left so desolate as the southeast corner of Arizona (and no, we're not talking about the nightlife in Yuma).
Along this desolate frontier said to be teeming with Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters, the border with Pakistan seems as elusive as the fugitives themselves.
Dodgen said the area was "desolate, but awesome".
In Oblivion , Earth looks desolate after an alien invasion, a wasteland dotted with wrecked landscapes and malfunctioning machines.
So here it is in all its panoramic glory: Mars, a desolate sphere of rocks and dust, millions of miles away.
Other than the occasional murder, few newspaper stories, if any, originate from the desolation of East Tremont Avenue.