in·​su·​late | \ˈin(t)-sə-ˌlāt \
insulated; insulating

Definition of insulate 

transitive verb

: to place in a detached situation : isolate especially : to separate from conducting bodies by means of nonconductors so as to prevent transfer of electricity, heat, or sound

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Examples of insulate in a Sentence

They used a special type of fiberglass to insulate the attic. a material that is able to insulate against cold The company has tried to insulate itself from the region's political turmoil. I wish I could insulate my children from painful experiences.
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Recent Examples on the Web

McDonald’s has succeeded world-wide in part by finding local suppliers wherever its restaurants operate, shortening supply chains and insulating against foreign-exchange volatility. Thomas Grove, WSJ, "In Russia, McDonald’s Serves Local Fries and a Side of Realpolitik," 8 Nov. 2018 Republicans, increasingly, wield power only because America’s political system insulates them from the public’s judgments. Ezra Klein, Vox, "Republicans are paying the Trump tax," 7 Nov. 2018 Does every single place need to be protected and insulated against catastrophe? Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Recode’s Teddy Schleifer and Kurt Wagner on Too Embarrassed to Ask," 12 Apr. 2018 Anthrax pores would not have to survive 7,000 degree reentry temperatures, as warheads insulate their payloads against such extremes of heat. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "North Korea Is Reportedly Testing Anthrax-Tipped ICBMs," 20 Dec. 2017 In New York, however, brick walls are often underneath the plaster to insulate against the cold. Asher Fogle, House Beautiful, "Chip and Joanna Gaines Give the "Fixer Upper" Treatment to a New York Apartment," 4 Nov. 2016 The threat of such a fine could compel the country to crack down harder on insulating foam manufacturers, but the damage has already been done. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Investigation Finds China Behind Ozone-Damaging Mystery," 9 July 2018 What used to be spruce trees and an insulating carpet of forest floor is now a layer of warm asphalt. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, "Warming in the north continues as predicted," 23 June 2018 That is meant to reduce risk in the financial system by insulating other traders if one defaults on payment. Tom Fairless, WSJ, "The Next EU-U.S. Battleground: Clearinghouses," 1 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'insulate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of insulate

circa 1741, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for insulate

Latin insula

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Statistics for insulate

Last Updated

18 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for insulate

The first known use of insulate was circa 1741

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More Definitions for insulate



English Language Learners Definition of insulate

: to add a material or substance to (something) in order to stop heat, electricity, or sound from going into or out of it

: to prevent (someone or something) from dealing with or experiencing something : to keep (someone or something) separate from something unpleasant, dangerous, etc.


in·​su·​late | \ˈin-sə-ˌlāt \
insulated; insulating

Kids Definition of insulate

1 : to separate from others : isolate At home he insulates himself from the city.

2 : to separate a conductor of electricity, heat, or sound from other conductors by means of something that does not allow the passage of electricity, heat, or sound insulated electrical wire

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