Definition of solo in English:



  • 1A thing done by one person unaccompanied, in particular.

    1. 1.1A piece of vocal or instrumental music or a dance, or a part or passage in one, for one performer.
      ‘the opening bassoon solo is relatively bland’
      ‘Petipa often left the danseur to arrange his own brief solo’
      • ‘The choreography demands very strong technique, much coordination, solos, duet dances.’
      • ‘The Song Book solos are little musical epigrams, which happen to survey popular Twenties piano styles from an often-ironic distance.’
      • ‘American Ballet Theatre principal Susan Jaffe set the tone for an evening of extraordinary dance with her opening solo as the Dying Swan.’
      • ‘Rasta Thomas integrated himself beautifully into the ensemble and danced two respectable solos.’
      • ‘This also affects the soli which all require an absolutely clean portamento and a beautifully crafted rubato.’
      • ‘A variety of musical talent will be performing, including rising star James Loynes, with guests performing Lloyd Webber, piano solos and popular music.’
      • ‘During the 96th festival there have been classes for choirs, vocal solos, duets, groups, strings, woodwind, brass and keyboard players.’
      • ‘Lifar's retelling of the Icarus myth is essentially a solo danced against the choral movement of a group.’
      • ‘The ex-punk, classically outlandish Clark gave Trevitt a superb solo to music of Erik Satie, titled Satie Stud.’
      • ‘His sectional verse anthems incorporate solos, duets, trios, and passages for organ alone.’
      • ‘The festival includes classes for choirs, vocal solos, duets, groups, pianoforte, strings, woodwind, guitar ensembles, composition, brass and keyboards.’
      • ‘The jazz inflected vocal and instrumental solos could have been written by Weill.’
      • ‘We had many elaborate presentations - clarinet concertos, violin solos, flute duets and saxophone trios.’
      • ‘Then followed skit, vocal solo, instrumental solo, group dance and group music competitions.’
      • ‘Boasting more than 12,000 total titles, the Willis catalog also includes everything from band and orchestra music and guitar solos, to operettas and manuscript paper.’
      • ‘He published accordion music and French instrumental solos.’
      • ‘Arpino's great choreographic imagination was at work throughout the suite of dances - solos, pas de deux, pas de trois, etc.’
      • ‘Then there is the weird idea of having the entire corps lightly but sappily wave their hands in time to the music when anyone dances a solo.’
      • ‘The three-hour service - without flowers, rings, solos, or instrumental music - is similar to an Amish worship service.’
      • ‘She was working in a chorus line and also doing an eccentric solo - a fan dance on pointe.’
    2. 1.2An unaccompanied flight by a pilot in an aircraft.
      ‘his first ride in his aircraft would also be his first solo’
      • ‘Most first solos are no more than a couple or three circles around the airport traffic pattern, but it's a big moment in a student pilot's training.’
      • ‘Is it possible to turn a paraglider pilot into an ATOS pilot in thirteen flights, and on their fourth solo?’
      • ‘On my first solo I went out and jumped fences in a cotton field and chased field workers.’
      • ‘Starting bright and early in the morning, he guaranteed to have you up for your first solo by sundown.’
      • ‘On Dec. 30, 1982, I was ready for my final flight of the year: the navigation solo.’
  • 2[mass noun] A card game resembling whist in which the players make bids and the highest bidder plays against the others in an attempt to win a specified number of tricks.

    • ‘Solo whist is a plain-trick game with trumps and bidding, closely related to the more elaborate and now obsolete game of Boston.’
    1. 2.1[count noun]A bid by which a player undertakes to win five tricks in solo whist.
      • ‘If a player bids prop and everyone else passes, the proposing player has the choice of converting the prop to a solo or any higher bid.’
      • ‘It is also common for the scores to increase for higher solos.’
      • ‘Quite often, these bids are used to outbid other contracts, such as solo 6, vingel 8 and tringel 9.’
      • ‘For an Ace solo, a five card suit to A A 10 will normally capture over 60 points.’
      • ‘In a solo contract, except for solo 13, the bidder receives 1 unit plus 1 per overtrick from each of the opponents when making the number of tricks in the contract.’
  • 3A motorbike without a sidecar.

    ‘50 races—solos and sidecars—should make for a thrilling showdown’
    • ‘I still believe that speedway solos are the most exciting form of motorsport to watch, and incredibly difficult.’
    • ‘He had raced solos for several years and had ridden as a passenger since 1979.’

adjective & adverb

  • 1For or done by one person alone; unaccompanied.

    [as adjective] ‘a solo album’
    [as adverb] ‘she'd spent most of her life flying solo’
    • ‘The solo acoustic worked wonders for him, as he seemed to enjoy doing magic tricks on his guitar.’
    • ‘When the rest of the boys discovered a solo piano version from 1967, they simply layered it over the original backing track and added choirs of eerily reverbed vocals.’
    • ‘Is it time for a solo female anchor of one of these newscasts?’
    • ‘Several unhappy attempts at solo careers later, the hatchet has finally been buried, for a second album.’
    • ‘Her first solo public exhibition, in 1965, was at a theatre in Prague, and after that she began to be included in exhibitions of ‘naive’ artists.’
    • ‘And last week he added to his wacky resume by becoming the first man to fly an aircraft solo around the world without stopping or refueling.’
    • ‘When you finally reached the level of flying the plane solo, the satisfaction was incredible.’
    • ‘Is the work as satisfying as your more personal, solo artistic projects?’
    • ‘Wermuth was the first artist to produce a solo textile exhibition in Bulgaria in 1963.’
    • ‘If some of those churches embrace a policy of isolation then they should do it solo and not try to recruit others to follow suit.’
    • ‘When I'm solo I have more time with each sound, I can get a lot more out of each sound.’
    • ‘He had become the youngest person to complete a solo transatlantic crossing at 12.50 GMT on Sunday when he was still 15.’
    • ‘He's promoting his new solo acoustic album Going Somewhere, but he will also play a few old favourites.’
    • ‘In 1996, Nyolo released a successful solo acoustic album Tribu, followed by Multiculti later on.’
    • ‘His latest solo piano album was nominated for five Grammy Awards, and the festival will feature some of the work for which he is best known.’
    • ‘There is a bitter-sweet edge to Liam Browne's preparations for his first-ever solo art exhibition.’
    • ‘When she went solo she changed her name to Deborah, but found the fans only wanted Blondie.’
    • ‘He'll pilot the sub solo - to depths where humans aren't meant to go.’
    • ‘Ray went solo some years back and has carved out his own niche in the market playing shows in many parts of the country.’
    • ‘Imagine what would have happened to an album of double-digit minute solo piano improvisations in the hands of one with lesser talent.’
    unaccompanied, single-handed, companionless, unescorted, unattended, unchaperoned, independent, lonely, solitary
    alone, all alone, on one's own, by itself, by oneself, without companions, in a solitary state
    single, sole
    unaccompanied, alone, all alone, on one's own, single-handed, single-handedly, by itself, by oneself, without companions, companionless, unescorted, unattended, unchaperoned, unaided, by one's own efforts, independently, under one's own steam, in a solitary state
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[as adjective](of a motorbike) without a sidecar.
      ‘a solo machine’
      • ‘There were some, without being sexist, there were some female solo riders, which was very impressive, to be honest.’
      • ‘Colin Philpot, a former Sidecar GP pilot from Burnham, kept the traditional solo riders toes with consistent high finishes.’
      • ‘He also competes in hill climb events on a 1947 Vincent 1000 cc solo machine and chalked up wins at Saltburn, Dalby Forest and Scarborough.’


  • 1 Perform something unaccompanied, in particular.

    • ‘Straight from the kick-out, Belmullet won possession, moved it forward to Cuffe, who soloed once through the centre, before unleashing a powerful shot low to the left-hand corner of Stephen Quinn's goal.’
    • ‘The half closed with CBS forward Mark Fleming soloing through from centre-forward and kicking the ball to the net as CBS led 3-2 to 1-0 at half time.’
    • ‘Brennan soloed in on goal and spotted Lawler loitering.’
    • ‘Unlike the moms (or, to be more precise and fair, my perception of the moms), we dads have no clear cultural script for soloing with our kids in public.’
    • ‘Again Rea soloed goal-wards with the ball on the turf but his left-footed shot was forced away for a 45 which floated wide.’
    • ‘Tramore's early superiority was emphasised in the 10th minute and Kilmac's defensive frailty exposed as Whelan soloed through from midfield, virtually unchallenged, to send a low shot to the net.’
    • ‘A great move down field saw Adrian Hession gain possession and after soloing through, hand passed to Kenneth Robinson who finished to the Ballina net.’
    • ‘With ten minutes to go, with his side a point down, Glenn Brophy was soloing towards the goal at an angle from the right hand side of the field.’
    • ‘Donnellan kept going, took a return pass from Joyce and soloed right footed through the heart of the Kerry defence before kicking left legged to the net.’
    • ‘He soloed to the half forward line, but his effort dropped short and Kieran McDonagh in the Ballintubber goal was glad to clear the danger.’
    • ‘First centre forward Ruairí Mangan soloed through before unleashing an unstoppable shot in the 10th minute.’
    • ‘On 51 minutes Cathal Carty soloed through the Eastern Gaels defence but his well taken shot hit the cross-bar and went over the post for a point.’
    • ‘And it continued in the 13 th minute when again Dunne won the ball before soloing up the middle and her hand pass found Kirwan who rounded her marker to coolly slot home her side's second goal.’
    • ‘Naomh Brid turned on the lights on the Christmas tree when Mark Brennan soloed through to send an unstoppable goal, and suddenly Naomh Brid were in control 1-3 to 0-5.’
    • ‘Kieran Byrne soloed in and shot wide from a favourable distance and Pat Molloy got inside the Blues square and was left and wide when he seemed easier to score.’
    • ‘Gearoid O'Connor soloed through the St. Colman's defence and when his first attempt was brilliantly saved by Denis Fitzgerald, the De La Salle forward showed his tenacity by kicking the re-bound to the back of the net.’
    • ‘Ageless Johnny Nevin was next on target after fine work by Carpenter and Hayden before Joe Byrne soloed through the middle and raised another white flag.’
    • ‘Three minutes into the game, Gina Dowling opened Roscommon's account, and three minutes later Aisling Creighton, from a pass by Ann Marie Carley, soloed through the centre to land their second point.’
    • ‘Lads started soloing and shooting from way out the field.’
    • ‘Flannery restored the Bray lead from a free but centre back Paudge McWalter soloed through to level the game for the third time in the 14th minute.’
    1. 1.1Perform an unaccompanied piece of music or a part or passage in one.
      ‘you're in danger of forgetting that you're accompanying rather than soloing’
      • ‘Jeffery soloed with the Plano Symphony Orchestra and the Southern Methodist University Meadows Symphony Orchestra.’
      • ‘Yet others are concerned with the attainment of skills in soloing.’
      • ‘His jovial keyboard soloing hardly makes up for the lack of any true musical prowess.’
      • ‘Jon's suite, which makes up the entirety of the original Concerto record, is nothing better than a bad mixture of hard rock soloing and a rather childish idea of classical music.’
      • ‘It slides almost seamlessly into ‘Flute Thang’, which lives up to its name with extensive flute soloing over piano arpeggios and short guitar bursts.’
      • ‘Thus, a pianist can practice comping or soloing in the bebop style by turning down the keyboard channel and then playing along with the other instruments.’
      • ‘Tenorman Marsh, who died while soloing on stage in 1987 at the age of 60, was one of the great improvisers in jazz history.’
      • ‘His ragged, yet soulful voice is a perfect fit; his guitar playing, both slide and lead soloing, complements Weir's aggressive rhythm support and Jimmy Herring's fluid leads.’
      • ‘No one part of the mix overpowered the other, even when band members started soloing.’
      • ‘Frisell often takes a back seat, echoing the melody lines or soloing in spare, minimalist phrases that resolve in undulating chords.’
      • ‘So it's really a kora album, with Ali only occasionally soloing or adding the odd spoken word comment.’
      • ‘The teaching approach focuses on two areas: comping and soloing.’
      • ‘All the Brown siblings have soloed with various symphonies, and collectively, the Brown children have had thirteen solo appearances with the Utah Symphony.’
      • ‘He also encouraged the nine supporting vocalists to take turns soloing throughout the set.’
      • ‘The event, in which competitors show their enthusiasm for rock music by strumming, thrashing, soloing and generally cutting loose on an imaginary electric guitar, has attracted competitors from around the world.’
      • ‘Like Orthrelm, their songs are based on incredibly complex sections of guitar soloing: long runs of notes falling over each other in an attempt to be the first lemming off the cliff.’
      • ‘Why should it be just aimless jamming and soloing, which you see in bands like The Grateful Dead.’
      • ‘When he wasn't soloing there was too much vamping and unimaginative and predictable harmonic progressions.’
      • ‘I noticed that he doesn't look at his hands much, particularly when soloing.’
      • ‘You can hear Michael Jackson soloing on ‘Morning Glow’ and then warbling ‘Corner of the Sky’ with his brothers.’
    2. 1.2Fly an aircraft unaccompanied.
      ‘she had been flying for twelve years and had soloed on her seventeenth birthday’
      • ‘The Navy said we should solo after eight hours of dual.’
      • ‘The men are college students from all over the USA who had soloed in Civil Pilot Training and were chosen for advanced training on floats.’
      • ‘Dan soloed in a sailplane at 14, and when he was old enough, moved onto powered aircraft.’
      • ‘Within two years he started taking flying lessons and soloed on 15 August 1937 in a 40-hp Jaylor Cub.’
      • ‘He soloed in an airplane before getting his driver's license, but his real obsession was designing and building model planes.’
      • ‘After eight hours of instruction, he soloed - on floats.’
      • ‘Originally from Waco, Texas, he learned to fly with his father and soloed at age 14.’
      • ‘Four weeks later, I soloed a single-control Douglas B - 23.’
      • ‘At 10 to 25 cents an hour, it took me about two years to have the money to log the eight hours necessary to solo at age 16.’
      • ‘However, the commander told me that I had not soloed in ten hours and he was going to wash me out.’
      • ‘I soloed in 7.4-hr and was the first of my group to go solo.’
      • ‘There was a certain amount of trauma about if you would solo and when.’
      • ‘I don't recommend using a PC simulator until after you solo.’
      • ‘I soloed in a Jenny in 1923, and it was equipped with glowing instruments.’
      • ‘The Stearman was fun to fly and I soloed in eight and a half hours.’
      • ‘After a few weeks of flying with an instructor, I soloed in a Stearman PT - 17 Kaydet.’
      • ‘At Winslow, Arizona - I got instruction in a Commonwealth Skyranger and moved on to solo in a Champ.’
      • ‘He flew a total of 56.9 hours and had still not soloed.’
      • ‘Most of the AAF cadets soloed in three or four hours.’
      • ‘He and his brother, Randy, both soloed on the same day.’
    3. 1.3Undertake solo climbing.
      ‘I was back next day with two friends, soloing again while they roped up’
      ‘I soloed back up it in the last light’
      [with object] ‘he did not solo the South Face of Lhotse’
      • ‘Mike, Mark and Doug where soloing up to the start of the second pitch of Greenwall via Banana then traversing right.’
      • ‘We ate some lunch, played on the top rope, and soloed around the lower sections of a few climbs before yanking our gear and heading for the Mad Moose.’
      • ‘By the end of 2002, I had climbed the fourteeners, and soloed 36 of them in winter.’
      • ‘It is only 50 or 60 feet to the start of the climb and before the Frenchies know what is happening, we are soloing up the first pitch.’
      • ‘You can get away with one cordalette per station when soloing.’


Late 17th century (as a musical term): from Italian, from Latin solus alone.