Devoid of inhabitants; deserted: "streets which were usually so thronged now grown desolate\u201d ( Daniel Defoe). Barren; lifeless: the rocky, desolate surface of the moon. Rendered unfit for habitation or use: the desolate cities of war-torn Europe. Dreary; dismal. Bereft of friends or hope; sad and forlorn. See Synonyms at sad. To rid or deprive of inhabitants. To lay waste; devastate: "Here we have no wars to desolate our fields\u201d ( Michel Guillaume Jean de Cr\u00e8vecoeur). To forsake; abandon. To make lonely, forlorn, or wretched.