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

Definition of isle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: island especially : islet sense 1


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 When Cyclone Debbie tore through Australia's Whitsunday Islands in March 2017, the storm left wispy white-sand isles thrashed, hotels destroyed, and renowned natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach in ruin. Kris Fordham, Condé Nast Traveler, "All the New Places to Stay in Australia’s Whitsunday Islands," 12 Nov. 2019 Flights have been cancelled, schools and other public institutions have closed, and tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from both the volcanic isle within Lake Taal and from the vast shorelines around it. National Geographic, "What the Philippines volcano ‘worst-case scenario’ could look like," 13 Jan. 2020 The first phase of the 3½-hour voyage saw the ferry threading its way between Skye to the north and Rum to the south, the latter a sparsely populated isle known as a haven for seabirds. Washington Post, "Exploring the rich grasslands, meadows and wildflowers of Scotland’s Western Isles," 18 Oct. 2019 The first phase of the 3 1/2-hour voyage saw the ferry threading its way between Skye to the north and Rum to the south, the latter a sparsely populated isle known as a haven for seabirds. Adrian Higgins,, "Exploring the wild beauty of Scotland’s Western Isles," 18 Oct. 2019 Nevis For foodies, or at least those who like mangoes, the summer is a fine time to visit the petite isle across the channel from Saint Kitts. Melanie Reffes, USA TODAY, "Summer on sale in the Caribbean: Stay at luxurious resorts at a huge discount," 11 June 2019 The Normans took control of Britain from the Saxons, but cities and farms in the isles stayed intact. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: Myths of war fog its economic costs," 29 Dec. 2019 This sweet anthology series, based on a popular New York Times column and starring everyone from Anne Hathaway to Tina Fey, celebrates romance up and down the isle of Manhattan. Tom Gliatto,, "The 10 Best TV Shows of the Year, According to PEOPLE’s Critic: Fleabag, The Crown and More!," 12 Dec. 2019 Then, one itinerary will sail to Ibiza, Monte Carlo, Marseille, and on to the Italian isle of Sardinia. Louis Cheslaw, Condé Nast Traveler, "Virgin Voyages Will Cruise the Mediterranean, With an Overnight in Ibiza," 19 Nov. 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

4 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Isle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 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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