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

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 Advocates say that maintaining ties to family members is important to the inmates’ mental health — as shown by the impacts of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. Christopher Keating,, "Connecticut budget committee OKs free phone calls for prisoners and Gov. Lamont’s broadband expansion bill," 3 May 2021 Now, after more than a year of isolation, the lonely prom dress, and its owner, are ready for their close-up — not in a gymnasium or reception hall, but on the running track outside the Elmhurst high school. Karen Ann Cullotta,, "High school proms are back, sort of. Some will have no dancing, no eating, no heels — and entrance might require a negative COVID-19 test.," 1 May 2021 After a year of isolation, this year's Derby took on extra significance for Magera, now living in South Carolina, and his small band of friends that made it to Saturday's races. Matthew Glowicki, The Courier-Journal, "Smaller crowds, beautiful weather mark a tame infield at 2021 Kentucky Derby," 1 May 2021 Emilie, who has Parkinson’s and has been dealing with the challenges of isolation during Covid-19, has found joy and resilience through her art. Halley Bondy, NBC News, "How Emilie Brzezinski finds resilience through art," 30 Apr. 2021 The period of isolation also gave Massenburg-Smith, who now performs under his first name Shelly, time to think deeply about his music. Jeff Ihaza, Rolling Stone, "How Shelley, Formerly Known as D.R.A.M., Found His True Voice," 30 Apr. 2021 Many Indian Americans have been unable to visit their families since the start of the pandemic, compounding their sense of isolation as relatives die across the world. Malavika Kannan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Bay Area Indian Americans mobilize to send aid to COVID-affected families in India," 29 Apr. 2021 As the weeks and then months of isolation piled up, the whales beckoned. Jill Bialosky, Harper's Magazine, "Devils in the Deep," 27 Apr. 2021 It could also be related to people coming out of isolation and resuming normal activities. Ryan Prior, CNN, "Blood banks phase out collecting convalescent plasma, but fear a US blood shortage," 24 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for isolation

Time Traveler

The first known use of isolation was in 1833

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Statistics for isolation

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Isolation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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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