\ 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 During the 1905-1906 expedition, the specialists found and documented tortoises on islands like Isabela and Santa Cruz, where they had already been known to exist, but no one knew if any were on Fernandina, the westernmost isle. Laura Kiniry, Smithsonian Magazine, "How an Expedition to the Galapagos Islands Saved One of the World’s Largest Natural History Museums," 8 Oct. 2020 In the western Pacific Ocean lies the tiny isle of Minami-tori-shima, the easternmost territory of Japan. Jennifer Frazer, Scientific American, "Mining Rare-Earth Elements from...Fossilized Fish???," 21 Sep. 2020 In addition to a provocative wall color rooted in the British taste for bright pastels, the curators have created groups of objects that embody a host of cultural and historical themes particular to the sceptered isle. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Cleveland Museum of Art refreshes British gallery with splash of color, new purchases, references to sins of empire," 30 Aug. 2020 But hang on, because for those willing, this little Scottish isle is more than ready to accept a few new runaway resident dreamers. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "This Scottish Island Is Recruiting New Residents to Join Its Population of 36," 12 Aug. 2020 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

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

17 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

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