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

Then there is the isolation of young women struggling to find their way in new communities after leaving their homes. Tim Sullivan, The Seattle Times, "AP finds long history of nuns abused by priests in India," 1 Jan. 2019 This is another creeping-dread film that’s more about tension and the isolation of the environment than about jump-scares and monster attacks. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "The new horror film canon (and where to stream it)," 1 Nov. 2018 The Mountain Lodge is true isolation in the best possible way. Kelly Hushin, Town & Country, "How to Explore the Hidden Gems of Italy's Dolomite Region," 28 Sep. 2018 Past all the fearsome isolation of Gilead, there are other principles of cultic systems on full display in Hulu’s dystopian tale., "The Handmaid’s Tale," 13 July 2018 The ultimate result will be further isolation on the international stage. Erika Guevara-rosas, Time, "Trump’s Departure From the Human Rights Council Will Only Weaken America," 20 June 2018 One of the factors that helped reduce the risks of the release is the relative isolation of the Plutonium Finishing Plant, which is deep inside the 586-square-mile Hanford Site. Ted Sickinger,, "Police looking for shooter after one injured in Keizer," 22 Apr. 2018 One of factors that helped reduce the risks of the release is the relative isolation of the Plutonium Finishing Plant, which is deep inside the 586-square-mile Hanford Site. Ralph Vartabedian,, "Blowing in the wind: Plutonium at former nuclear weapons site," 16 Apr. 2018 Their journey toward understanding is harrowing but rewarding, because of all the dangers in this novel — from hurricanes to hauntings — the greatest by far is isolation. Nalini Jones, New York Times, "When the Going Gets Tough, These Kids Find Their Way," 13 Apr. 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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Statistics for isolation

Last Updated

14 Apr 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

What made you want to look up isolation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


having no equal

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