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

Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales is covered with roaming, adoptable puppies that are native to the island. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "This Tropical Island is Brimming With Adoptable Puppies You Can Take Home," 2 Apr. 2019 Season six brings with it a lot of changes, both to the island and the actual game. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Fortnite moves so fast that I’ve already forgotten about the cube," 27 Sep. 2018 Will and Kate have been to the island twice before, first in 2012 and again in 2014, when George was very young. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince George Is Reportedly Celebrating His Birthday on a Private Island, NBD," 22 July 2018 The Witness, the excellent 2016 puzzle game about an island full of grids. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Borderlands 3 is an Epic exclusive, Obsidian shows off The Outer Worlds," 5 Apr. 2019 Follow a walkway to the South Garden for a return to the island of Capri. Jay Jones, latimes.com, "Here's what 57,000 flowers create at Vegas' Bellagio Conservatory, where love is in the air," 12 July 2018 The passenger did not embark on the flight to the Caribbean island, and neither did the snake. CBS News, "Airline passenger tries to "artfully conceal" baby python in hard drive, TSA says," 10 July 2018 Governor Ricardo Rosselló told Science in February the reorganization would streamline statistical collection and analysis, as well as encourage the United States to extend its data collection programs to the island. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "After outcry, Puerto Rico’s legislature spares statistical agency," 3 July 2018 Readings indicate that the seafloor off the French island's eastern shoreline is sinking at a rate of approximately 0.4 inches per month. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "French Island Might Be Sitting On Top of Gigantic Underwater Magma Shift," 20 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Dr Toomey’s findings stem from his analysis of sediment cores collected near the Dry Tortugas, islands off Florida’s coast. The Economist, "PalaeoclimatologyTraces of old hurricanes show how hard climate science is," 19 Oct. 2017 The island was largely spared the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Irma on the chain's St. Thomas and St. John islands just two weeks ago. Carlisle Jno Baptiste And Danica Coto, chicagotribune.com, "Hurricane Maria aims at Puerto Rico after slamming Dominica," 19 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

9 May 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

Comments on island

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