Word of the Day


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1. a game for one person in which you move pieces around on a board. The aim is to have only one piece left at the end of the game.
a. the card game of patience (mainly American)
2. a single jewel such as a diamond in a ring or other piece of jewellery

Origin and usage

The word solitaire comes from the Latin adjective ‘solitarius’ meaning ‘lonely, isolated’. It first appeared in English sometime around 1500, when it was used to mean ‘a widow’. By the early 1700s, the word solitaire came to mean ‘a recluse’. In 1727, solitaire was first used to mean ‘a single precious stone’, while the meaning referring to a card game first appeared in English in 1746.


The word solitaire sometimes refers to one of two different games. The first is played by moving pieces around a board until you have just one piece left; the second solitaire game is played by one person with a deck of cards. Solitaire can also refer to a piece of jewellery with a single stone, like a diamond. A diamond solitaire is a classic style popular as an engagement ring.

An American jewellery designer favoured by many celebrities will soon launch a unique diamond solitaire engagement ring that is the first of its kind. The brand, called LACE by Jenny Wu, has debuted a ring produced using 3D printing technology. It features a unique curving architectural design and delicate twists along the band, with a single diamond at the centre. The rings are made to order, with diamonds sourced responsibly or grown in a lab.


“My biggest vice is playing solitaire on my iPad. It’s bad. I mean, it’s ridiculous.”
(Diane von Furstenberg)

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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