Definition of solitaire in English:


Pronunciation /ˈsɒlɪtɛː//ˌsɒlɪˈtɛː/


  • 1mass noun Any of various card games played by one person, the object of which is to use up all one's cards by forming particular arrangements and sequences.

    Also called patience
    • ‘He glanced up from the book for a second, only to see Faye playing a game of solitaire.’
    • ‘If any readers know any other comparable solitaire programs or a good Backgammon program, another game that I get frequently requested, please write in.’
    • ‘Gripsnak couldn't see anything else to do with his time, a game of solitaire should calm him.’
    • ‘Although with 16MB of RAM and a rather cute 190MHz CPU it would be able to handle the basics; solitaire, word processing etceteras, ultimately it is remarkable for its size.’
    • ‘You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.’
    • ‘A few months ago, Adonis had found a deck of cards in a dumpster and used them to play solitaire, something else he didn't exactly recall learning.’
    • ‘Max got out the cards to play solitaire, and I shut my eyes for a nap.’
    • ‘I noticed approvingly that he did not return to his game of solitaire until we were almost out of the building.’
    • ‘Current games range from spaceship shoot-em-ups to solitaire.’
    • ‘I'll sit with the computer for 25 hours and play solitaire.’
    • ‘Go into the living room and do something that calms you - read a book, play solitaire, do a jigsaw puzzle.’
    • ‘Mann responded by taking Crain's wallet, finding her own spot, and arraying her credit cards as if dealing a game of solitaire.’
    • ‘A second $100 prize was offered to the person who completed the most number of sets of solitaire, in addition to the prize for the highest score.’
    • ‘Debbie Weiss was sitting at the table, playing solitaire.’
    • ‘She was inside playing cards by herself, solitaire.’
    • ‘Absently, Midori dealt herself a game of solitaire.’
    • ‘In general, the computer versions now available do no more than let you play solitaire, showing you the cards and letting you move them around.’
    • ‘For a lot of people they don't want to deal with that, they want to play a quick game of solitaire while their spreadsheet prints out, something like that.’
    • ‘Cut to the seminar room, which is narrow and extremely long, with a room divider halfway down, and is full of elderly people sitting round cabaret tables playing board games, solitaire, knitting etc.’
    • ‘He often sat there with his old deck of cards playing solitaire, remembering other bars and card games.’
    • ‘The shareware Absolutist Solitaire Studio has a range of solitaire games and a Solitaire Script language which allows you to design your own games and add them to the program.’
    • ‘People have worked out five-suit versions of other card games, including spades, bridge, hearts, and various types of solitaire.’
    • ‘At last he shrugged, and turned back to his game of solitaire on the computer.’
    • ‘I know that because I can get six games of computer solitaire out in a row in the same number of moves over the same time as normal.’
    • ‘She found the pack of cards and dealt out a hand of solitaire on the floor.’
    • ‘These scores are influenced somewhat by subjects' skill in playing solitaire, particularly with respect to their variance.’
    • ‘He eventually won that game of solitaire, and promptly began a new one.’
    • ‘But they might be willing to play a little solitaire - just to pass the time.’
    • ‘He was in the office playing computer solitaire.’
    • ‘Indeed, the game is sometimes called patience sorting, where patience is the British term for solitaire.’
    • ‘Perfect for making sure that you save power when you nod off after a demanding midnight game of solitaire.’
    • ‘On a second thought, she arranged the cards to play solitaire.’
    • ‘Latham was sitting at the table playing solitaire.’
    • ‘He then quietly admitted that he couldn't figure out how to move the cards in solitaire.’
    • ‘Being able to take short breaks to recharge your brain is much better - whether it's surfing the sports pages or playing a little solitaire.’
    • ‘In short, anything The Stills might have to offer is available on a CD, and at least you can play a game of solitaire while listening to a cd, which would be considerably more inspiring than watching them play live.’
    • ‘Nora was sitting on her bed, playing a game of solitaire, but she quickly changed the game so that Emy could join in.’
    • ‘The unflappable receptionist went on playing solitaire.’
    • ‘Nokia does some games itself for WAP phones but we're talking very simple ones like solitaire, backgammon etc.’
    • ‘I've sat here for twenty minutes, played seven games of solitaire, and try as I may I can't pull anything out of the day.’
    • ‘Pi stood quickly, leaving his game of solitaire where it was.’
  • 2British mass noun A game for one player played by removing pegs one at a time from a board by jumping others over them from adjacent holes, the object being to be left with only one peg.

    • ‘Solitaire is a board game for one player involving movement of pegs on a board with holes.’
    loner, solitary, lone wolf
    View synonyms
  • 3A diamond or other gem set in a piece of jewellery by itself.

    with modifier ‘a diamond solitaire’
    as modifier ‘a solitaire ring’
    • ‘The facility, with two concert halls and a dinner club designed by Rafael Viñoly, should shine like a diamond solitaire, even in daylight, giving the center an urban profile it deserves.’
    • ‘For the attractively priced and elegantly designed ‘Solo’ collection of small solitaire diamonds, is sure to fulfil her aspirations.’
    • ‘The candlelight caught the square solitaire, setting rainbows of fire dancing through the diamond.’
    • ‘The small diamond solitaire glinted off the Christmas tree.’
    • ‘He slipped the ring of gold with the single solitaire onto the ring-finger of her left hand.’
    • ‘It is a slick platinum band impounded in the center by a gorgeous, princess-cut pink diamond solitaire.’
    • ‘The piece begins at the navel with a large solitaire and falls in several layers around the waist.’
    • ‘A single diamond solitaire hovered above the hollow of her throat.’
    • ‘‘They steer away from anything that looks too engagementy, so solitaires, three-stones and clusters are out but we do sell a lot of solitaire necklaces and diamond crosses,’ he says.’
    • ‘Typically, these are either solitaire diamond rings or three stone rings.’
    • ‘I took the rings to a jeweler, sold the gold, and had the solitaire diamond set into a pendant, which I then gave to my daughter for her 18th birthday.’
    • ‘Nordheim once based a work around the image of a solitaire diamond, and here, too, his compositions shimmer like stones of unmeasured preciousness.’
    • ‘A typical King press conference finds the tuxedo-clad promoter clutching an American flag in a hand graced by a nine-carat solitaire set in a white gold ring.’
    • ‘Jenny looked at the rather simple diamond solitaire sitting in a gold band.’
    • ‘The country has already emerged as a big player in the finished product category - cutting and polishing imported roughs and re-exporting it as solitaires and jewellery.’
    • ‘The black-enameled hinged balls shown in Plate XII were used to cover the diamond solitaire earrings also shown.’
    • ‘The exhibition also has an ‘Arisia diamond solitaire collection.’’
    jewel, precious stone, semi-precious stone, stone, brilliant, baguette, cabochon
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 A ring set with a solitaire diamond or other gem.
      • ‘The single diamond solitaire is a strong favourite and nobody can resist that big sparkler.’
      • ‘If you bought a solitaire from Tiffany and Co., you want to replace it with a solitaire from Tiffany, not a solitaire from Sears.’
      • ‘It's a diamond solitaire Dad bought with winnings from a good day at the track.’
      • ‘There won't be room to get on one knee, and you risk dropping the solitaire into the depths, but if it goes well, you'll have the world's best answer to the question ‘So where did you get engaged?’’
      • ‘Opening the box he took out a stunning diamond solitaire and placed it on her finger.’
      • ‘‘This is the ring that your grandfather gave me when we got engaged’ she said as she pointed to a silver banded diamond solitaire.’
      • ‘I, thinking nothing of it, removed my evening glove and showed her the small gold band with the small diamond solitaire on my left ring finger.’
      • ‘Later it is explained to you that simple designs are more the persons style so you return the ‘gaudy’ ring for the simple solitaire.’
      • ‘Sunset on Valentines day, Piazza San Marco - Venice, diamond solitaire, down on one knee?’
      • ‘Sparkling on the ring finger of her left hand was the beautiful diamond solitaire Arthur had presented her with earlier that day.’
      • ‘Tim Aveyard, assistant manager of Goldsmith's Jewellers in Bank Street, said solitaires were the most popular ring.’
      • ‘‘Being the baby of the family, I certainly didn't think I would be getting a large solitaire of my dreams, and I didn't,’ she says.’
      • ‘Then there are Canadian Diamond Classics, with prices that start at $495 up to $5,000 for a solitaire.’
      • ‘Glenn had steered her away from the traditional solitaires and selected an estate piece, a huge opal surrounded by diamonds.’
      • ‘Not an engagement ring, though, she says, there is an obvious significance to a man giving a woman a diamond solitaire.’
      • ‘They also include the elegant ‘Lightweight Diamond Collection’ and spectacular solitaires.’
      • ‘Neil also bought Lucy's engagement ring, a diamond solitaire from Deacon's and managed to keep it under wraps until he popped the question in Cyprus.’
      • ‘And Long is walking around in her grief with a diamond solitaire on her hand, symbolizing that love.’
      • ‘Over a period of three weeks, there are prizes to be won, including 135 gold coins, a diamond solitaire, and discounts at almost every shop.’
  • 4Either of two large extinct flightless birds related to the dodo, found on two of the Mascarene Islands until they were exterminated in the 18th century.

    Family Raphidae: the Rodriguez solitaire (Pezophaps solitaria), and the poorly known Réunion solitaire (Ornithaptera solitaria)

    • ‘Isaac draws the portrait of the solitaire as it was described to him by a very old man who had seen one of the last of that strange species.’
    • ‘The DNA evidence does indicate that the dodo and the solitaire separated from a common ancestor about 25.6 million years ago.’
    • ‘He has unfolded for her what could have been simply a lecture on the solitaires, a narrative that gradually becomes a tale, a reverie, a meditation on the birds.’
    • ‘Of solitaires there are only travelers' tales and sketches, and a few bones [found in the caves of the limestone platform of the island].’
    • ‘It was a handsome, solitary bird, and was therefore known as the solitaire, while a similar bird on Mauritius was called the dodo.’
  • 5A large American thrush with mainly grey plumage and a short bill.

    Genus Myadestes, family Turdidae: several species

    • ‘Trails lead into the juniper-filled canyon where Townsend's solitaires sing.’
    • ‘The few birds that stay in Washington are found east of the Cascades, where they sometimes join groups of robins and solitaires.’
    • ‘In fall and winter, look for bald eagles, American dippers, mergansers, red-shafted Northern flickers, red-tailed hawks, and Townsend's solitaires.’
    • ‘Everything was bone dry, and the cedar breaks below the escarpment held not a single robin, waxwing, solitaire, or bluebird.’


Early 18th century: from French, from Latin solitarius (see solitary).