iso·​late | \ ˈī-sə-ˌlāt also ˈi- How to pronounce isolate (audio) \
isolated; isolating

Definition of isolate

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to set apart from others also : quarantine
2 : to select from among others especially : to separate from another substance so as to obtain pure or in a free state


iso·​late | \ ˈī-sə-lət How to pronounce isolate (audio) , -ˌlāt also ˈi- \

Definition of isolate (Entry 2 of 3)

: being alone : solitary, isolated


iso·​late | \ ˈī-sə-lət How to pronounce isolate (audio) , -ˌlāt also ˈi- \

Definition of isolate (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : an individual, population, strain, or culture obtained by or resulting from selection or separation
2 : an individual socially withdrawn or removed from society

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Other Words from isolate


isolator \ ˈī-​sə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce isolator (audio) also  ˈi-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for isolate

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of isolate in a Sentence

Verb These policies will only serve to isolate the country politically and economically. Certain patients must be isolated in a separate ward. When he wants to work, he isolates himself in his office and won't talk to anyone. Scientists have isolated the gene that causes the disease. Noun interpersonal relationships are very stressful for him, so he lives as a virtual isolate on the Upper West Side of Manhattan
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Crusius has been held without bond since the shooting and kept isolated from other prisoners, on suicide watch for at least two months after the shooting. CBS News, "Alleged El Paso Walmart gunman charged with federal hate crimes," 7 Feb. 2020 He has been held without bond since the shooting and kept isolated from other prisoners, on suicide watch for at least two months after the shooting. Michael Balsamo And Cedar Attanasio, Houston Chronicle, "Suspect in deadly El Paso mass shooting faces hate crime charges, AP source says," 6 Feb. 2020 He has been held without bond since the since the shooting and kept isolated from other prisoners, on suicide watch. Lauren Villagran, USA TODAY, "Man accused of killing 22 people in El Paso Walmart shooting to face hate crime charges," 6 Feb. 2020 He has been held without bond since the shooting and kept isolated from other prisoners, on suicide watch. Michael Balsamo,, "Walmart shooting suspect faces hate crime charges," 6 Feb. 2020 While many of these nations plan to keep the waste isolated from water, that's not something that can be guaranteed over the extremely long lifespans of the waste. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Planned nuclear storage material could decay faster than expected," 27 Jan. 2020 Using samples of the virus isolated from patients, scientists in China have determined the genetic code of the virus and used microscopes to photograph it. Haitao Guo, Scientific American, "Snakes Could Be the Original Source of the New Coronavirus Outbreak in China," 22 Jan. 2020 The current 12th season of the show has been particularly rough for Leakes as lingering conflicts with several cast members have kept her isolated from the rest of the group. Keyaira Boone, Essence, "Nene Leakes Denies She's Leaving 'RHOA' After Wendy Williams Claims She's Out And Dealing With A 'Secret'," 22 Jan. 2020 Soy frankenfoods like meat analogs, soy bars, soy yogurts, or protein powders usually only contain soy protein isolates, rather than nutrition from the whole soybean. Marygrace Taylor, Good Housekeeping, "Is Soy Good or Bad for You? Here's the Science-Backed Answer," 17 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Those agreements enabled the WHO to acquire isolates of the virus within four weeks, according to Boehme. Megan Molteni, Wired, "The US Fast-Tracked a Coronavirus Test to Speed Up Diagnoses," 4 Feb. 2020 Read More Tyson’s new nuggets are constructed from pea protein isolate, bamboo fiber and other plant ingredients. Jacob Bunge, WSJ, "Tyson’s New Nuggets Swap In Peas for Chicken, as Meatless Frenzy Grows," 13 June 2019 The device uses ceramic heating elements rather than metal or plastics Alvarez said unlike some CBD companies, Straight Hemp does not use isolate, which is pure CBD, or cannabidiol. Judith Kohler, The Denver Post, "Arvada CBD company strikes deal with health food supermarket chain to sell product in 10 states," 6 Nov. 2019 About one-quarter of recent Indian isolates of Candida auris, a fungus that’s on the rise globally, were resistant to two or more classes of antifungals, for instance. Kai Kupferschmidt, Science | AAAS, "Four new drugs may help fight the growing threat of fatal fungi," 22 Oct. 2019 The trombone, an instrument typically associated with slides and energy and swing, with sudden moves and blasts, is here turned into an almost introspective isolate: lyrically mourning, then raging and mourning again,’’ Rothstein wrote., "Christopher Rouse, expressionistic composer who won Pulitzer Prize, dies at 70 - The Boston Globe," 28 Sep. 2019 In China, home to many of the manufacturing plants that do this work, called fractionation, pea-protein isolate is widely thought of as the byproduct of the process. Larissa Zimberoff, Time, "The Rise of the Pea: How an Unassuming Legume Emerged as a Frontrunner in the Race to Replace Meat and Dairy," 15 Aug. 2019 In addition to vaporizers, The Clear CBD sells tinctures and loose CBD isolate, which can be sprinkled on top of cannabis or on its own for a non-psychoactive experience. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "Celebrate National CBD Day With All These Very Chill Sales," 8 Aug. 2019 Examples of these ingredients include (but aren’t limited to) soy protein isolate, high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, gluten, maltodextrin, inulin, and gums. Samantha Cassetty, NBC News, "Ask an RD: What is processed food and just how bad is it?," 5 Aug. 2019

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


1799, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1819, in the meaning defined above


1890, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for isolate


back-formation from isolated set apart, from French isolé, from Italian isolato, from isola island, from Latin insula

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Time Traveler for isolate

Time Traveler

The first known use of isolate was in 1799

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Statistics for isolate

Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Isolate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for isolate


How to pronounce isolate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of isolate

: to put or keep (someone or something) in a place or situation that is separate from others
: to find and deal with (something, such as a problem) by removing other possibilities
technical : to separate (something, such as a chemical) from another substance : to get (something) or an amount of (something) that is not mixed with or attached to anything else


iso·​late | \ ˈī-sə-ˌlāt How to pronounce isolate (audio) \
isolated; isolating

Kids Definition of isolate

: to place or keep apart from others Isolate any diseased plants.
iso·​late | \ ˈī-sə-ˌlāt How to pronounce isolate (audio) \
isolated; isolating

Medical Definition of isolate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to set apart from others: as
a : to separate (one with a contagious disease) from others not similarly infected
b : to separate (as a chemical compound) from all other substances : obtain pure or in a free state


iso·​late | \ ˈī-sə-lət How to pronounce isolate (audio) , -ˌlāt How to pronounce isolate (audio) \

Medical Definition of isolate (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an individual (as a spore or single organism), a viable part of an organism (as a cell), or a strain that has been isolated (as from diseased tissue, contaminated water, or the air) also : a pure culture produced from such an isolate
2 : a relatively homogeneous population separated from related populations by geographic, biologic, or social factors or by human intervention
3 : a socially withdrawn individual

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