island

noun, often attributive
is·​land | \ ˈī-lənd How to pronounce island (audio) \

Definition of island

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a tract of land surrounded by water and smaller than a continent
2 : something resembling an island especially in its isolated or surrounded position: such as
a : a usually raised area within a thoroughfare, parking lot, or driveway used especially to separate or direct traffic
b : a superstructure on the deck of a ship (such as an aircraft carrier)
c : a kitchen counter that is approachable from all sides
3 : an isolated group or area especially : an isolated ethnological group

island

verb
islanded; islanding; islands

Definition of island (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to make into or as if into an island
b : to dot with or as if with islands
2 : isolate

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Synonyms for island

Synonyms: Noun

isle, islet

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Did You Know?

The words island and isle are etymologically distinct. Island can be traced back to Old English īgland, composed of two elements īg and land. Land, as we might expect means “land,” but īg means “island” in Old English. In a sense, then, īgland is “island-land.” The English isle, on the other hand, is derived through medieval French from the Latin insula. In the 16th century, under the influence of isle, the letter s was added to iland, the earlier form of island. The verb island did not appear until the 17th century.

Examples of island in a Sentence

Noun

He lives on an island in the Caribbean. the island of Hawaii is the largest in the Hawaiian archipelago

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Tanaka said tourists can play an important role in staving off ROD, particularly on islands like Oahu, which has not yet been infected with the fungus. NBC News, "Sacred Hawaiian tree species threatened by deadly fungus; tourists can help save it," 30 June 2019 It was previously thought that such giant birds only lived on the islands of Madagascar and New Zealand as well as Australia. USA TODAY, "Big birds: Giant, 1,000-pound birds once roamed around Europe," 26 June 2019 Others create worlds of their own on remote islands. The Christian Science Monitor, "What really makes us what we are?," 25 June 2019 Southern fur seals were hunted to near extinction on islands around Antarctica within decades, or even years, of their discovery by sealers. Stephen Witt, WIRED, "Fitted With Sensors, Antarctic Seals Track Water Temperatures," 25 June 2019 Their royal tour of the Caribbean in March, which included more than 50 engagements on 10 different islands and a historic visit to Cuba, cost £416,576 (or roughly $530,000). Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Prince Charles and Camilla Were the Royal Family's Biggest Spenders on Travel This Year," 24 June 2019 Today, the Peruvian government carefully manages an annual guano harvest on certain coastal islands. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "New study takes a bird’s-eye view of the Nasca Lines," 20 June 2019 Vehicle support is provided at various points while in the highlands, but will be limited on the islands. National Geographic, "Scotland Hiking Adventure: From the Highlands to Islands," 17 June 2019 A year after the Ynaa kill a young boy on the islands, three families find themselves in the midst of a larger conflict. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "11 new science fiction and fantasy books to check out in late June," 15 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Chalifoux, who has been driving on the island for 11 years, said the community has supported the drivers by offering carpool rides to island workers via a community Facebook group. Allison Hagan, BostonGlobe.com, "Martha’s Vineyard bus drivers go on strike," 28 June 2019 The Pacific islands the Austronesians came to settle — eventually all the way to Hawaii and Easter Island — are like grains of sand scattered across a vast blue void. James R. Hansen, Discover Magazine, "For Neil, Apollo Was the First Step in Humanity's Cosmic Migration," 20 May 2019 That network can island off from the larger grid and run on its own, at least for a limited time, if there is a blackout. David Roberts, Vox, "Clean energy technologies threaten to overwhelm the grid. Here’s how it can adapt.," 30 Nov. 2018 The 21 percent that nest on the Kerguelen Islands in the Indian Ocean and the Falkland and Tierra del Fuego islands close to South America would find their nesting grounds altered and would have to travel farther to find food and so might relocate. Karen Weintraub, New York Times, "King Penguins Are Endangered by Warmer Seas," 26 Feb. 2018 In the offshore world, wealthy people and corporations use the banking systems of low-tax countries, often island nations in the Caribbean, to shield their assets from taxing authorities in their home countries. David Heinzmann, chicagotribune.com, "Tribune exclusive: Pritzker's secret offshore holdings revealed in Chicago duck boat land deal," 14 Mar. 2018 Critics have said the exemption allowed UBS Group AG to sell funds to island residents that later suffered big losses, wiping out many clients’ life savings. Ryan Tracy, WSJ, "Lawmakers Expand Scope of Senate Bank-Deregulation Bill," 7 Mar. 2018 To find out why, researchers set out cameras to record clownfish behaviors near North Solitary and Lord Howe islands along Australia’s east coast. Jennifer Leman, Science | AAAS, "Why some clownfish are boring," 14 Dec. 2017 Authorities were letting residents and business owners to return to Upper Keys islands close to the mainland Tuesday morning, but people from the Lower Keys faced a longer wait. Jennifer Kay And Doug Ferguson, chicagotribune.com, "Florida makes slow moves toward recovery after Hurricane Irma," 12 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'island.' 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 island

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1661, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for island

Noun

alteration (influenced by Anglo-French isle) of earlier iland, from Middle English, from Old English īgland (akin to Old Norse eyland), from īg island (akin to Old English ēa river, Latin aqua water) + land land

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Statistics for island

Last Updated

4 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for island

The first known use of island was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for island

island

noun

English Language Learners Definition of island

: an area of land that is surrounded by water
: a raised area within a road, parking lot, or driveway that is used to separate or direct traffic
chiefly US : a separate raised area with a flat surface on which food is prepared in a kitchen

island

noun
is·​land | \ ˈī-lənd How to pronounce island (audio) \

Kids Definition of island

1 : an area of land surrounded by water and smaller than a continent
2 : something like an island in its isolation We have a counter island in our kitchen.

island

noun
is·​land | \ ˈī-lənd How to pronounce island (audio) \

Medical Definition of island

: an isolated anatomical structure, tissue, or group of cells

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More from Merriam-Webster on island

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with island

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for island

Spanish Central: Translation of island

Nglish: Translation of island for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of island for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about island

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