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This study aimed to explore the experience of loneliness in Iranian abused elderly people.A qualitative design was employed to collect and analyse data regarding the experience of loneliness in abused elderly people living in an urban area of Iran. A purposeful sampling strategy was applied. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were held with 14 participants (five men and nine women) until the data richness was fulfilled. The data were analysed using the Colaizzi method.Three main themes emerged as follows: ‘feeling of pain and suffering’, ‘feeling of being an outsider’ and ‘feeling of deprivation’. A discrepancy existed between how the participants had imagined their lives in later life and how they actually lived them.The combination of abuse, old age and deprivation increased suffering and pain, which accompanied the loneliness experience in older people. The findings suggest that nurses need to address factors such as abuse, neglect and deprivation influencing the experience of loneliness during the assessment of their elder patients. This may help them to devise strategies for preventing abuse or alleviating the sense of loneliness in elderly people.