iso·​la·​tion | \ ˌī-sə-ˈlā-shən also ˌi- How to pronounce isolation (audio) \

Definition of isolation

: the action of isolating : the condition of being isolated

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of isolation in a Sentence

the isolation of the mountain community forced isolation always made the sociable child lonely

Recent Examples on the Web

The problem for Trump is that China — as North Korea’s dominant trading partner and sole security ally — is key to maintaining the economic isolation the U.S. is relying on to force Kim back to the negotiating table. Jon Herskovitz, Fortune, "Why the Trump-Kim Nuclear Show Is Set for Act Three," 20 June 2019 The resulting stigma and isolation of the lower-income residents has become the subject of outrage and debate in Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Canada and the UK. Claire Shamblin, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Proposed development on Sloan’s Lake offers “poor doors” instead of affordable housing," 11 June 2019 For caregivers, the labor and isolation of caregiving is seldom discussed, leaving their struggles ignored and leading a vulnerable population to reach for extreme ends. Ann Neumann, Harper's magazine, "Going to Extremes," 10 June 2019 Hill does a really great job showing the isolation and awkwardness of his main character with quiet pauses and wonderfully natural, casual dialog that feels as messy as conversations among young teens really would be. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "New trailers: Jessica Jones, Ad Astra, The Lion King, and more," 8 June 2019 But millions of women bear the burden of incarceration in isolation and with shame. Alicia Garza, Marie Claire, "Alicia Garza on How Women Are Battling Mass Incarceration," 30 Apr. 2019 Crystal Woodman Miller was in the library during the Columbine High School shooting and dealt with pain and isolation afterward. Carina Julig, The Denver Post, "Columbine survivors assemble care packages for STEM students," 19 June 2019 Reasons for the denials included failure to prove geographic isolation. Jesse Leavenworth,, "East of the Connecticut River leaders blast state’s denial of expanded cardiac care at Manchester Memorial Hospital," 17 June 2019 Participate in an upbeat dance class that begins with a warm up to strengthen, stretch and improve flexibility and then moves into footwork, rhythm and isolations. Alan Goch,, "Palm Beach central and north county events for June 19-25," 14 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of isolation

1833, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for isolation

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for isolation

The first known use of isolation was in 1833

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More Definitions for isolation



English Language Learners Definition of isolation

: 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


iso·​la·​tion | \ ˌī-sə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce isolation (audio) \

Kids Definition of isolation

: 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


iso·​la·​tion | \ ˌī-sə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce isolation (audio) \

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

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Comments on isolation

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