\ ˈī(-ə)l How to pronounce isle (audio) \
plural isles

Definition of isle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: island Pacific isles Steering with due course toward the isle of Rhodes …— William Shakespeare especially : a small island : islet I once lived on the … island of Antiparos, a tiny isle behind Paros. — Emily Prager Islay is a small Hebridean isle, some 25 miles in length, with a population of less than 4,000, yet it boasts eight of the oldest and most famous distilleries in Scotland. — Henry Shukman


isled; isling

Definition of isle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make an isle of
2 : to place on or as if on an isle

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Synonyms for isle

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of isle in a Sentence

Noun the Australian seas are rife with uninhabited isles
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun March 17 was to be celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day for the 5th century patron saint who brought Christianity to the emerald isle of Ireland. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Lone Star College System fares well in pandemic," 26 June 2020 Their kinship is unlike any other in the isle of Eroda, but the singer eventually learns to let his No. 1 companion go. Heran Mamo, Billboard, "Here Are the Lyrics to Harry Styles' 'Adore You'," 19 Dec. 2019 Watching silver British zaddies Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon embark on an island-hopping getaway to the faraway isles in the hilarious trailer for the final installment in their beloved Trip movie series. Joey Nolfi,, "Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon take final Trip to Greece in hilarious trailer," 22 Apr. 2020 At low-key Vahine Island, skipper TiTi takes me snorkeling in waist-deep water off a nearby isle. Rebecca Misner, Condé Nast Traveler, "Island Hopping in French Polynesia," 15 Nov. 2019 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had visited the vast isles and were charmed by the marquetry and intricate detailing of these special furnishings. Brenda Yenke, cleveland, "Celebrating our Celtic influences: Yenke Peddler antiques," 12 Mar. 2020 Island Hopping in the San Juans Take a drive along the San Juan Island Scenic Byway, a beautiful marine highway lining the magical isles of San Juan and Orcas. Drake Wilson, Sunset Magazine, "Find Wine, Whales, and Water Adventures in Washington’s Scenic Puget Sound," 3 Feb. 2020 Styles, though, is the sole golden boy of the isle—the only one who walks around with a blindingly bright grin. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Harry Styles Takes Sailor Style to Whimsical New Heights in His New Video," 6 Dec. 2019 Start at Su Gologone, which Sabastian Schoellgen, the managing director of Eighty Four Rooms readily endorses as the perfect introduction to the back-country of the isle. Brandon Presser, Harper's BAZAAR, "The 20 Best Places to Travel in 2020," 30 Dec. 2019

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


13th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1576, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for isle


Middle English, from Anglo-French ile, isle, from Latin insula

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Time Traveler for isle

Time Traveler

The first known use of isle was in the 13th century

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Last Updated

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Isle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for isle


\ ˈīl How to pronounce isle (audio) \

Kids Definition of isle

: a usually small island

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More from Merriam-Webster on isle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for isle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with isle

Spanish Central: Translation of isle

Nglish: Translation of isle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of isle for Arabic Speakers

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