isolate

verb
iso·​late | \ ˈī-sə-ˌlāt also ˈi- \
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
3 : insulate

isolate

adjective
iso·​late | \ ˈī-sə-lət , -ˌlāt also ˈi-\

Definition of isolate (Entry 2 of 3)

: being alone : solitary, isolated

isolate

noun
iso·​late | \ ˈī-sə-lət , -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2 : an individual socially withdrawn or removed from society

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from isolate

Verb

isolator \ ˈī-​sə-​ˌlā-​tər also  ˈi-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for isolate

Synonyms: Verb

cut off, insulate, seclude, segregate, separate, sequester

Synonyms: Noun

anchorite, eremite, hermit, recluse, solitary

Antonyms: Verb

desegregate, integrate, reintegrate

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

By tracking currents, the team was able to isolate the source of warming in specific oceans. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "The Oceans Have Absorbed an Unfathomable Amount of Energy Due to Climate Change," 11 Jan. 2019 Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday called for countries to further isolate North Korea despite the Hermit Kingdom's offer to discuss denuclearization. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Trump warns 'world is watching' after North Korea says it's willing to give up nuclear weapons," 2 Oct. 2018 The startup is working with bacteria-eating viruses called phages to isolate proteins that can make superbug-killing drugs. Ari Altstedter, Bloomberg.com, "The Startups Waging War Against Superbugs," 25 June 2018 There were reports of overnight airstrikes on Busr al-Harir, a northeast Daraa town where government troops are trying to isolate the rebels. Sarah El Deeb, BostonGlobe.com, "Syria resumes use of barrel bombs in southwest offensive," 22 June 2018 After each mouse was bitten, Hayes stole the snake’s meal, tossed it in a blender, and used a combination of antibodies and dye to isolate the venom from the mush. Kyle Dickman, Outside Online, "A Rattle with Death in Yosemite," 20 June 2018 By making a fluorescent tag that homed in on the worm’s tetraspanin, the researchers were able to isolate just this one cell type, dubbed neoblast subtype No. 2 (Nb2), for further testing. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "This one, newly discovered cell can remake a whole animal," 14 June 2018 Taipei lost two diplomatic allies in May as Beijing stepped up its campaign to isolate the island, while the Chinese military in April conducted a large-scale show of force in the Taiwan Strait, the narrow strip of water that divides the two. Ben Westcott, CNN, "Taiwan F-16 fighter jet crashes during military drills simulating Chinese attack," 4 June 2018 Emmanuel Macron in particular has sought to seduce the Slovaks and Czechs to isolate Hungary and Poland. The Economist, "A struggle between authoritarians and liberals in the heart of Europe," 26 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The hurricane could also produce heavy and excessive rainfall – up to 40 inches in isolates areas in the Carolinas and anywhere between six to 12 inches elsewhere in the Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic region. Lucia I. Suarez Sang, Fox News, "Hurricane Florence, 'storm of a lifetime,' generating 83-feet high waves as it barrels towards Carolina coast," 12 Sep. 2018 Salience is a fancy way of saying relevance; this network is important for helping a brain isolate and focus on only relevant stimuli from an environment filled with noise. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Inflammation is bad, including for those in the womb," 12 Apr. 2018 Of those isolates, about 25 percent produced carbapenem-thwarting enzymes called carbapenemases. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "“Nightmare” superbugs continue to lurk in US, but control efforts working," 4 Apr. 2018 Surround yourself with the people who love you instead of giving in to the urge to self-isolate. Gigi Engle, Marie Claire, "How to Get Over a Breakup Without Falling into a Dark Pit of Despair," 1 Nov. 2017 The Japanese astronaut’s wife is an isolate searching for an identity that feels authentic while training a robot to act as a household companion. Laura Miller, Slate Magazine, "Dark Futures," 25 May 2017 An experiential display deconstructs the scent of rose—a complex bundle of aromachemicals—into its key isolates. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "A New Berkeley Museum Explores the Secret World of Natural Perfume," 11 July 2017 A few ingredients to steer clear of: artificial colors, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, palm kernel oil, and soy protein isolate. Kate Dwyer, Bon Appetit, "5 Protein Bars That Are Healthy and Taste Good," 20 Apr. 2017

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.

See More

First Known Use of isolate

Verb

1799, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1819, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1890, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for isolate

Verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about isolate

Statistics for isolate

Last Updated

13 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for isolate

The first known use of isolate was in 1799

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for isolate

isolate

verb

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

isolate

verb
iso·​late | \ ˈī-sə-ˌlāt \
isolated; isolating

Kids Definition of isolate

: to place or keep apart from others Isolate any diseased plants.

isolate

transitive verb
iso·​late | \ ˈī-sə-ˌlāt \
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

isolate

noun
iso·​late | \ ˈī-sə-lət , -ˌlāt \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on isolate

What made you want to look up isolate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

very full or close together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!