\ 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 The specter of Locke, and of the Scottish Enlightenment that followed him, held more and more sway over the sceptered isle with the passing of the years since the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "England’s Most Underrated Political Philosopher," 23 Apr. 2021 Despite the pleasantries, tensions on the isle are on the rise. NBC News, "Sinn Fein leader says 'sorry' about assassination of Prince Philip's uncle in 1979," 20 Apr. 2021 Getting to Governors Island only takes a quick ferry ride, but the isle between Manhattan and Brooklyn feels like a trip to another time. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Spring’s Best Fragrances Are Big on Personality," 8 Apr. 2021 Still, companies like Hershey have massive brand recognition and dominate the candy isle. John P. Reese, Forbes, "Six Companies Buffett Could Buy That Would Fit Nicely Into Berkshire’s Portfolio," 9 Mar. 2021 Now, the date is mostly about honoring all things Irish, and tends to be a bigger, rowdier celebration in Irish communities outside the Emerald isle than in it. David Clark Scott, The Christian Science Monitor, "Monday Sunrise Briefing: A surge in children crossing US border," 15 Mar. 2021 This month’s whiskies include a new limited edition series from Israel’s first whisky distillery, the first release from a new distillery on the isle of Skye in Scotland, and the big debut whiskey from Midleton’s new master distiller. Felipe Schrieberg, Forbes, "Whisky Review: Skye’s Newest Distillery, New Israeli Single Malts, And More," 28 Feb. 2021 Yep, the population is dwindling here on the ol’ isle, and with good reason: This team is actively encouraging abandonment with its recent performance. Globe Staff,, "It’s been a miserable stretch for the Celtics, but it’s not time to give up," 23 Feb. 2021 On the other side of the isle, Iraq veteran Sen. Tammy Duckworth said the withdrawal would embolden the Taliban. Michael Lee, Washington Examiner, "US on track to meet Trump's Afghanistan drawdown target despite resistance from lawmakers," 21 Dec. 2020

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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Statistics for isle

Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Isle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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

Nglish: Translation of isle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of isle for Arabic Speakers

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