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 States are reopening and restarting commerce, allowing people to come out of isolation. Cassidy Morrison, Washington Examiner, "Fauci says reluctance to follow health guidelines is ‘frustrating’," 19 June 2020 In March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned prisons that inmates’ fear of medical isolation could encourage the virus’s spread. Dara Lind, ProPublica, "The Prison Was Built to Hold 1,500 Inmates. It Had Over 2,000 Coronavirus Cases.," 18 June 2020 One in four older adults, aged 50 to 80, report feelings of isolation, and over 60 percent of adults feel some degree of loneliness. David H. Xiang, Scientific American, "Using Poetry to Combat Loneliness and Social Isolation," 16 June 2020 As many of us have wallowed in our own versions of isolation in recent months, time has blurred and loneliness has festered. Annabel Gutterman, Time, "Murder, Mystery and Make Believe in Ottessa Moshfegh’s Death in Her Hands," 11 June 2020 The world is being reshaped now, as people mourn those who have died from COVID-19, and parse both the sense of isolation and the structural economic inequity that the pandemic has exacerbated. Teresa Mathew, The New Yorker, "Professional Mourners’ Laments from Quarantine," 9 June 2020 Last month, members of the Berlin Philharmonic returned home to their concert hall after weeks of isolation. Gregory Barber, Wired, "The Science Behind Orchestras' Careful Covid Comeback," 8 June 2020 There is a broad scientific consensus that 14 days is an acceptable estimate of incubation time, but the travel and aviation industries—hard hit by the economic fallout of the pandemic—are not convinced that two weeks of isolation is necessary. Naomi Xu Elegant, Fortune, "How the world agreed on a 14-day coronavirus quarantine—and the (risky) ways to shorten it," 8 June 2020 Those baseball-loving boys, who have called the Ruth Minchen Athletic Complex their second home, have officially ended 90 days of isolation and have begun making their appearance at the complex from their cocoons called home. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Ruth Minchen Athletic Complex seeing the welcome return of ballplayers," 4 June 2020

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

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Isolation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for isolation


How to pronounce isolation (audio)

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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