English Vocabulary

lonely or lonesome

Who of you, dear Gymglish users, could explain me the meaning of the two similiar words?



  • Lone, lonely, lonesome.
    Three synonyms in many cases. With an exception for one case.
    1. According to what I read in dictionaries, Samson, <lone> and <lonely> may mean "objectively having no company", "being without company", what <lonesome> doesn't. <Lonesome> always insists one the fact of being sad, having bad feelings resulting from the lack of companionship, a meaning that <lone> and <lonely> also meet.
    2. <lonely> and <lonesome> share as further meanings: having feelings from being solitary; causing a feeling of loneliness(e.g. the Delavigne offices were so empty that they seemed lonesome/lonely)

    I wonder whether the adjectival suffix -some isn't a bit different from the adjectival suffix -ly.

    Suffix -ly just means in a specified MANNER, specification made by the main root the suffix gets added to.
    [examples: abashedly, permanently, accurately, exactly, precisely, partly, monthly, lonely,...]

    Suffix -some only means characterized by a specified QUALITY, STATE, CONDITION, ACTION.
    [ex.: awesome, bothersome, troublesome, worrisome, gruesome, lonesome...]

    It seems to me that the -ly suffix commands more objective cases whereas the -some suffix commands more subjective ones. Am I right or wrong? I dunno.
    Does this meet your ideas, Samson. Tell me your views.
  • Thank You Mr. Gee! Your answer is more detailed than I expected.
    I asked for your opinion about this case because I was irritated by Gymglish's answer in my daily lesson: "a lonely person feels isolated or alone. They need companions or friends."
    I thought to be alone or lonely is just a statement of isolation, whereas to be lonesome means a feeling.
    Concerning your thoughts about the suffix-meaning it's to high for me at the moment.
    Thank you very much.

  • Hi, Samson, take my comments for what they are, just personal ideas of a learner.
    Don't forget that lonely may also mean feeling isolated and being sad therefore.
    Just lonesome doesn't fit to simply describe "being without company." (according to the Webster's)
    Keep it up!

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