social distancing

noun

Definition of social distancing

: the practice of maintaining a greater than usual physical distance from other people or of avoiding direct contact with people or objects in public places during the outbreak of a contagious disease in order to minimize exposure and reduce the transmission of infection San Francisco issued recommendations for social distancing on Friday, advising residents to stay home as much as possible and avoid congregating in large groups.— Taryn Luna and Melody Gutierrez Under a new "social distancing" strategy, handshaking could be discouraged, with other, less tactile forms of greeting taking its place.— Rosa Silverman The term social distancing may be foreign to some, but the concept is one often practiced during the flu season, said Dora Anne Mills, the state's former top health official and currently chief health improvement officer for MaineHealth.— Gillian Graham

First Known Use of social distancing

2003, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about social distancing

Time Traveler for social distancing

Time Traveler

The first known use of social distancing was in 2003

See more words from the same year

Statistics for social distancing

Last Updated

16 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Social distancing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/social%20distancing. Accessed 29 Mar. 2020.

Comments on social distancing

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

March 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • field of crocuses
  • Which is a synonym of rectitudinous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!