\ 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 But ownership of the island has passed to La Maddalena national park authorities, who are evicting Morandi and turning the small isle into an environmental education destination. Andrews Mcmeel Syndication, Star Tribune, 21 May 2021 The Duchess of Cambridge is a longtime fan of the fair isle sweater. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, 27 Apr. 2021 Italy is set to start a mass vaccination campaign Friday on some of its small, remote islands with few residents and limited health care services, though one isle jumped the gun and got most of its adults inoculated on its own. Nicole Winfield, Star Tribune, 6 May 2021 The brothers and former MLW tag-team champions, who live and train on Hawaii’s northern isle of Kauai, look forward to the prospect of wrestling again in Texas as the pandemic allows. Dallas News, 4 May 2021 Rising a mere 3,000 feet above the waves of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the seemingly diminutive volcanic isle is famed for its near-continuous summit explosions. New York Times, 18 Mar. 2021 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, 23 Apr. 2021 Despite the pleasantries, tensions on the isle are on the rise. NBC News, 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, 8 Apr. 2021

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

8 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Isle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for isle


\ ˈīl How to pronounce isle (audio) \

Kids Definition of isle

: a usually small island

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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