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 While people around the world worry about the isolation of the coronavirus pandemic, Jenny Marr has no fears of being lonely. Nataly Keomoungkhoun, Dallas News, "Rare identical quadruplets discharged from Dallas hospital during coronavirus pandemic," 20 May 2020 Yes, your daughter has been alone for a long time, and the isolation takes a toll on all of us. Ronda Kaysen, New York Times, "Play-Date Arrangements: Are They Safe or Irresponsible?," 16 May 2020 In this case, the team modified a typical SIR model to include infected pools with and without symptoms as well as the isolation of those with symptoms. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Researchers say those recovered from SARS-CoV-2 can be a societal shield," 14 May 2020 The isolation is giving him a good primer on what businesses should expect as more countries turn to quarantines. Jeff Green,, "Burgers and Netflix, But Can’t Pet the Dog: A CEO’s Life in Self-Quarantine," 13 May 2020 Fosters of shelter animals are way up, both in Los Angeles and nationwide, as people seek out companions to ease the isolation of the coronavirus outbreak. Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times, "L.A. animal shelters brace for influx of pets as people face financial hardships from coronavirus," 11 May 2020 My monk friends assured me that the isolation brought them together into a stronger sense of community and worship. Pico Iyer, Condé Nast Traveler, "Pico Iyer on How Travel Can Help Us Heal," 8 May 2020 Self isolation is new for all of us and without these leisure activities, we're left to our own devices. James Barrett, Redbook, "Why Friends You Haven’t Heard From Are Reaching Out Now," 7 May 2020 Company leaders say the systems are built to boost productivity and make the quiet isolation of remote work more chipper, connected and fun. Washington Post, "Managers turn to surveillance software, always-on webcams to ensure employees are (really) working from home," 30 Apr. 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

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Isolation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 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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