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

Two new mothers who happen to be new next-door neighbors, an upper middle-class lawyer and a hospital worker from a working class background, meet and hungrily bond over their common experiences and feelings of isolation. Sam Hurwitt, The Mercury News, "Review: New moms learn that stakes are high in ‘Cry It Out’ in SF," 23 Aug. 2019 Jasmine Marinez, 34 and her daughter Fernanda Martinez, 6 from Honduras enjoy their first day out of isolation on August 15, 2019. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Chickenpox and flu: Migrants are getting sick at the U.S.-Mexico border," 19 Aug. 2019 Sue Abderholden, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota, said the recent legislative changes should help protect mentally ill and nonviolent inmates from long-term isolation. Ryan Faircloth, Twin Cities, "Minnesota prisons lengthen solitary stays; inmates sent to ‘the hole’ more than ever last year," 10 Aug. 2019 After six months of isolation, Philip is awkward and hesitant to venture out. Ann Neumann, Harper's magazine, "Going to Extremes," 10 June 2019 Studies have shown that spending time with animals, as in dog therapy programs, can lower blood pressure, lessen depression and anxiety, decrease feelings of isolation, and encourage communication. Rita Giordano,, "Rowan University gifted $3 million to start therapy dog program," 5 June 2019 While the plight of hungry children elicits support and can be tackled in schools, the plight of hungry older Americans is shrouded by isolation and a generation’s pride. Laura Ungar & Trudy Lieberman / Kaiser Health News, Time, "Why America Is Failing To Feed Its Aging," 28 Aug. 2019 O'Neel, who attempted suicide in 2012, today describes it as the new enemy with isolation as its accomplice. Dean Reynolds, CBS News, "Inside a suicide prevention call center for veterans responding to 1,700 calls each day," 26 Aug. 2019 The piece sort of devolves from there into a run-of-the-mill jazz dance, but it’s quintessential Joel Hall, with all the high legs and rib cage isolations one desires. Lauren Warnecke,, "SummerDance Celebration was a perfect day in the park, plus a plea for Chicagoans to see more dance indoors this fall," 24 Aug. 2019

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

15 Sep 2019

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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 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

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