noun iso·la·tion \ ˌī-sə-ˈlā-shən also ˌi- \
Updated on: 18 Feb 2018

Definition of isolation

: the action of isolating : the condition of being isolated

Examples of isolation in a Sentence

  1. the isolation of the mountain community

  2. forced isolation always made the sociable child lonely

Recent Examples of isolation from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'isolation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of isolation


Synonym Discussion of isolation

solitude, isolation, seclusion mean the state of one who is alone. solitude may imply a condition of being apart from all human beings or of being cut off by wish or circumstances from one's usual associates.
    • a few quiet hours of solitude
isolation stresses detachment from others often involuntarily.
    • the isolation of the village in winter
seclusion suggests a shutting away or keeping apart from others often connoting deliberate withdrawal from the world or retirement to a quiet life.
    • lived in pastoral seclusion

ISOLATION Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of isolation for English Language Learners

  • : the state of being in a place or situation that is separate from others : the condition of being isolated

  • : the act of separating something from other things : the act of isolating something

ISOLATION Defined for Kids


noun iso·la·tion \ ˌī-sə-ˈlā-shən \

Definition of isolation for Students

: the act of keeping apart from others : the condition of being kept apart from others
  • … it was the cows who were responsible for the wood's isolation
  • —Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

Medical Dictionary


noun iso·la·tion \ ˌī-sə-ˈlā-shən \

medical Definition of isolation

1 : the action of isolating or condition of being isolated
  • isolation of a virus
  • put the patient in isolation
2 : a segregation of a group of organisms from related forms in such a manner as to prevent crossing
3 : a psychological defense mechanism consisting of the separating of ideas or memories from the emotions connected with them

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


an inn where caravans rest at night

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-dog-in-snow-jumping-to-grab-a-heart-shaped-balloon-the-snow-and-heart-balloon-indicate-that-the-month-being-represented-is-april-and-the-dog-is-just-kinda-cute
  • Which is a synonym of sanguine?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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