iso·la·tion | \ˌī-sə-ˈlā-shən 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

The Melbourne projects aim to help find solutions to the city's expanding urban sprawl, worsening traffic congestion, and growing social isolation – all of which can contribute to problems like alcoholism and domestic violence. Michael Taylor, The Christian Science Monitor, "Won't you be my neighbor: Melbourne experiments with community-led housing," 11 July 2018 The fact that those moments came in frustrating isolation, or the fact that France’s forwards couldn’t score, or the fact that most people think now that Deschamps still is too conservative a manager for so talented a group, won’t matter. Brian Straus,, "Le Bleuprint: France Follows Familiar World Cup Path in Reaching Final," 10 July 2018 In the study’s conclusion, Janus wrote: The early lives of all the subjects were marked by suffering, isolation, and feelings of deprivation. Brendan Leonard, Outside Online, "Learning to Be Funny," 9 July 2018 A week after rescue divers emerged in a dark and flooded cave to discover that — against all odds — a missing team of Thai soccer players had somehow managed to survive 10 days of isolation, their rescue continued with astonishing rapidity. New York Times, "8 Saved, 5 to Go in Thai Cave Rescue," 9 July 2018 There’s an ongoing waltz in the poem between binaries of camaraderie and isolation, synthesis and division, creation and destruction, harmony and chaos. Tyler Malone,, "The road taken by Robert Frost through New England," 29 June 2018 Unfortunately, mental health issues can be prevalent in the transgender community as a result of isolation, rejection, lack of resources, and discrimination. Nathan Levitt, SELF, "6 Things Every Transgender Person Should Know About Going to the Doctor," 11 June 2018 The first half of the episode shows this descent into real darkness, utter isolation, loneliness, and pain [for her]. Julie Miller, HWD, "The Crown: Vanessa Kirby Takes Us Inside Princess Margaret’s “Sexual Awakening”," 8 June 2018 Isola/Island, at the U.K. Pavilion, focuses on themes of isolation—both environmental and deliberately man-made—as well as questions of identity, both top of mind in post-Brexit Europe. Erica Firpo, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Do the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2018," 31 May 2018

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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Phrases Related to isolation

in isolation

Statistics for isolation

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

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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 \

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 \

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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one that holds something together

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