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.
      • ‘His sectional verse anthems incorporate solos, duets, trios, and passages for organ alone.’
      • ‘The three-hour service - without flowers, rings, solos, or instrumental music - is similar to an Amish worship service.’
      • ‘We had many elaborate presentations - clarinet concertos, violin solos, flute duets and saxophone trios.’
      • ‘This also affects the soli which all require an absolutely clean portamento and a beautifully crafted rubato.’
      • ‘The ex-punk, classically outlandish Clark gave Trevitt a superb solo to music of Erik Satie, titled Satie Stud.’
      • ‘She was working in a chorus line and also doing an eccentric solo - a fan dance on pointe.’
      • ‘Then followed skit, vocal solo, instrumental solo, group dance and group music competitions.’
      • ‘Arpino's great choreographic imagination was at work throughout the suite of dances - solos, pas de deux, pas de trois, etc.’
      • ‘The festival includes classes for choirs, vocal solos, duets, groups, pianoforte, strings, woodwind, guitar ensembles, composition, brass and keyboards.’
      • ‘A variety of musical talent will be performing, including rising star James Loynes, with guests performing Lloyd Webber, piano solos and popular music.’
      • ‘American Ballet Theatre principal Susan Jaffe set the tone for an evening of extraordinary dance with her opening solo as the Dying Swan.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Lifar's retelling of the Icarus myth is essentially a solo danced against the choral movement of a group.’
      • ‘The Song Book solos are little musical epigrams, which happen to survey popular Twenties piano styles from an often-ironic distance.’
      • ‘Rasta Thomas integrated himself beautifully into the ensemble and danced two respectable solos.’
      • ‘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 choreography demands very strong technique, much coordination, solos, duet dances.’
      • ‘The jazz inflected vocal and instrumental solos could have been written by Weill.’
      • ‘He published accordion music and French instrumental solos.’
      • ‘During the 96th festival there have been classes for choirs, vocal solos, duets, groups, strings, woodwind, brass and keyboard players.’
    2. 1.2An unaccompanied flight by a pilot in an aircraft.
      • ‘On Dec. 30, 1982, I was ready for my final flight of the year: the navigation 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.’
      • ‘On my first solo I went out and jumped fences in a cotton field and chased field workers.’
      • ‘Is it possible to turn a paraglider pilot into an ATOS pilot in thirteen flights, and on their fourth solo?’
      • ‘Starting bright and early in the morning, he guaranteed to have you up for your first solo by sundown.’
  • 2A card game in which one player 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.’

adjective & adverb

  • For or done by one person alone; unaccompanied.

    [as adjective] ‘a solo album’
    [as adverb] ‘she'd spent most of her life flying solo’
    • ‘There is a bitter-sweet edge to Liam Browne's preparations for his first-ever solo art exhibition.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Several unhappy attempts at solo careers later, the hatchet has finally been buried, for a second album.’
    • ‘He's promoting his new solo acoustic album Going Somewhere, but he will also play a few old favourites.’
    • ‘When you finally reached the level of flying the plane solo, the satisfaction was incredible.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He had become the youngest person to complete a solo transatlantic crossing at 12.50 GMT on Sunday when he was still 15.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ray went solo some years back and has carved out his own niche in the market playing shows in many parts of the country.’
    • ‘When I'm solo I have more time with each sound, I can get a lot more out of each sound.’
    • ‘Wermuth was the first artist to produce a solo textile exhibition in Bulgaria in 1963.’
    • ‘He'll pilot the sub solo - to depths where humans aren't meant to go.’
    • ‘When she went solo she changed her name to Deborah, but found the fans only wanted Blondie.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The solo acoustic worked wonders for him, as he seemed to enjoy doing magic tricks on his guitar.’
    • ‘Is it time for a solo female anchor of one of these newscasts?’
    • ‘In 1996, Nyolo released a successful solo acoustic album Tribu, followed by Multiculti later on.’
    • ‘Is the work as satisfying as your more personal, solo artistic projects?’
    • ‘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
    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 Perform something unaccompanied, in particular.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Lads started soloing and shooting from way out the field.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Brennan soloed in on goal and spotted Lawler loitering.’
    • ‘First centre forward Ruairí Mangan soloed through before unleashing an unstoppable shot in the 10th minute.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When he wasn't soloing there was too much vamping and unimaginative and predictable harmonic progressions.’
      • ‘So it's really a kora album, with Ali only occasionally soloing or adding the odd spoken word comment.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘All the Brown siblings have soloed with various symphonies, and collectively, the Brown children have had thirteen solo appearances with the Utah Symphony.’
      • ‘It slides almost seamlessly into ‘Flute Thang’, which lives up to its name with extensive flute soloing over piano arpeggios and short guitar bursts.’
      • ‘I noticed that he doesn't look at his hands much, particularly when soloing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Tenorman Marsh, who died while soloing on stage in 1987 at the age of 60, was one of the great improvisers in jazz history.’
      • ‘Jeffery soloed with the Plano Symphony Orchestra and the Southern Methodist University Meadows Symphony Orchestra.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The teaching approach focuses on two areas: comping and soloing.’
      • ‘He also encouraged the nine supporting vocalists to take turns soloing throughout the set.’
      • ‘Why should it be just aimless jamming and soloing, which you see in bands like The Grateful Dead.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Stearman was fun to fly and I soloed in eight and a half hours.’
      • ‘Four weeks later, I soloed a single-control Douglas B - 23.’
      • ‘Originally from Waco, Texas, he learned to fly with his father and soloed at age 14.’
      • ‘He and his brother, Randy, both soloed on the same day.’
      • ‘However, the commander told me that I had not soloed in ten hours and he was going to wash me out.’
      • ‘He flew a total of 56.9 hours and had still not soloed.’
      • ‘At Winslow, Arizona - I got instruction in a Commonwealth Skyranger and moved on to solo in a Champ.’
      • ‘He soloed in an airplane before getting his driver's license, but his real obsession was designing and building model planes.’
      • ‘I soloed in 7.4-hr and was the first of my group to go solo.’
      • ‘Most of the AAF cadets soloed in three or four hours.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I soloed in a Jenny in 1923, and it was equipped with glowing instruments.’
      • ‘After eight hours of instruction, he soloed - on floats.’
      • ‘Within two years he started taking flying lessons and soloed on 15 August 1937 in a 40-hp Jaylor Cub.’
      • ‘After a few weeks of flying with an instructor, I soloed in a Stearman PT - 17 Kaydet.’
      • ‘Dan soloed in a sailplane at 14, and when he was old enough, moved onto powered aircraft.’
      • ‘I don't recommend using a PC simulator until after you solo.’
      • ‘There was a certain amount of trauma about if you would solo and when.’
    3. 1.3Undertake solo climbing.
      • ‘Mike, Mark and Doug where soloing up to the start of the second pitch of Greenwall via Banana then traversing right.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘By the end of 2002, I had climbed the fourteeners, and soloed 36 of them in winter.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You can get away with one cordalette per station when soloing.’


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