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2 : an individual socially withdrawn or removed from society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 With a goal of increasing community involvement for people who would otherwise be socially isolated, professional organizations are making an impact through education. Caryn M. Sullivan, Twin Cities, "Caryn Sullivan: Meeting sensory challenges head-on," 25 Aug. 2019 Through his sharing, others were able to better understand him, creating an opportunity for connection with a young man who had initially isolated himself. Anchorage Daily News, "Around Alaska, there’s a new approach to suicide prevention: Think locally," 17 Sep. 2019 Crasnow said students with learning and social disabilities tend to isolate themselves. Ben Brazil, Daily Pilot, "Irvine school provides a STEM education to children with disabilities," 10 Sep. 2019 Climate change undoubtedly plays a role in emerging new behaviors of ocean dwellers—but there still isn’t enough evidence to isolate it as a leading cause. Annaliese Griffin, Quartzy, "Are great white sharks messing with us?," 1 Sep. 2019 Probably a small population of A. anamensis isolated itself from the main population, underwent major changes, and over time distinguished itself from the parent species of A. anamensis. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian, "A 3.8-Million-Year-Old Skull Puts a New Face on a Little-Known Human Ancestor," 29 Aug. 2019 These relationships counter the common narrative that technology isolates us. Simone Stolzoff,, "They called an UberPool and found love," 27 Aug. 2019 After isolating herself from the group with her campaign against Kathryn Dennis, Jacobs returned for season 6 as a guest-star, seeking a second chance. Michele Corriston,, "Ashley Jacobs Will Not Appear on the Southern Charm Season 6 Reunion," 22 Aug. 2019 This arrangement keeps the pollen of the two flowers from mixing, genetically isolating them. Scientific American, "Ballistic Maggots, Synthetic Winks and Why You’re Not Goop: This Week’s Best Science GIFs," 9 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 In more-digestible words ... The Impossible Burger’s main ingredients are soy protein isolate, sunflower oil and coconut oil. Savannah Eadens, The Courier-Journal, "Looking for the Impossible Burger in Louisville? We made it possible," 17 May 2017 Tyson's Raised & Rooted 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 Another study evaluated subjective anxiety and brain activity using 400 mg of isolate CBD, and found anxiolytic (a.k.a. The Editors, Marie Claire, "10 Health Issues CBD Could Solve," 17 Apr. 2019 For example, Banza's version with pea protein isolate has 14 grams of protein per serving compared to Barilla’s 11 grams per serving. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "How Healthy Is Chickpea Pasta? A Dietitian Weighs In on Nutrition and Weight-Loss Benefits," 25 Mar. 2019 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

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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Statistics for isolate

Last Updated

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for isolate

The first known use of isolate was in 1799

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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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