in·​su·​lar ˈin(t)-su̇-lər How to pronounce insular (audio)
: characteristic of an isolated people
especially : being, having, or reflecting a narrow provincial viewpoint
: of, relating to, or constituting an island
: dwelling or situated on an island
insular residents
: of or relating to an island of cells or tissue
ˈin(t)-su̇-lə-ˌri-zəm How to pronounce insular (audio)
ˌin(t)-su̇-ˈler-ə-tē How to pronounce insular (audio)
-ˈla-rə- -syu̇-
ˈin(t)-su̇-lər-lē How to pronounce insular (audio)

Examples of insular in a Sentence

the insular world of boarding schools an insular community that is not receptive of new ideas, especially from outsiders
Recent Examples on the Web Bennett’s allegations take place within the insular world of dance conventions, which play a large role in the lives of up-and-coming dancers, affording them an opportunity to compete and take classes with hot-ticket choreographers like Abreu. Samuel Braslow, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 May 2024 Will his next album completely eschew this beef, and follow the more insular streak of Mr. Morale? Angel Diaz, Billboard, 14 May 2024 Grabowski clearly drew on her own upbringing in Scituate, Mass. — another insular South Shore town battered by coastal erosion and flooding — in shaping her setting, though Nashquitten is more worn down at the heels. Kristen Martin, NPR, 11 May 2024 McLellan depicts the insular emotions of romantically undecided working-class boys. Armond White, National Review, 10 May 2024 Built in 1920, the storied property in the unincorporated township of Bolinas, a notoriously insular beach town about 30 miles north of San Francisco, is the former abode of Grace Slick, lead singer of Jefferson Airplane. Abby Montanez, Robb Report, 7 May 2024 There’s going to be interest because Thompson, despite being a peculiar and oftentimes insular guy, is still a four-time NBA Champion with a trove of winning wisdom. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, 7 May 2024 Wasteful extravagances such as a party photographer hired to take pictures of people’s auras and $200 shots of whiskey could amuse people outside of Los Angeles, but the film’s cultural hyper-specificity can feel insular. Stephen Saito, Variety, 12 Mar. 2024 Even if the Warhol clan may have been too insular to contain Darling’s ambitions, Warhol’s movies partially functioned as a guardrail against a more caustic mainstream film culture. Mayukh Sen, The Atlantic, 9 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'insular.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Late Latin insularis, from Latin insula island

First Known Use

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Time Traveler
The first known use of insular was in 1611

Dictionary Entries Near insular

Cite this Entry

“Insular.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​su·​lar ˈin(t)s-(y)ə-lər How to pronounce insular (audio)
: of, relating to, or forming an island
: being isolated or detached
an insular building
: not open to new or different ideas : narrow
an insular viewpoint
insularity noun

Medical Definition


in·​su·​lar -lər How to pronounce insular (audio)
: of or relating to an island of cells or tissue (as the islets of Langerhans or the insula)

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