socially distance


socially distanced; socially distancing; socially distances

transitive verb

: to cause (oneself) to avoid social interaction with an individual or individuals perceived as different from oneself or belonging to a social group other than one's own
Consistent with social ostracism, Study 3 illustrated that men were most likely to socially distance themselves from female gender benders, likely as a result of prejudice against gender-bending women.Janet K. Swim et al.
Nearly half of respondents indicated they would be very or somewhat likely to socially distance themselves from an individual with major depressive disorder.Tiffany M. Greene-Shortridge et al.
medical : to distance (oneself) physically from other people or avoid any unnecessary contact with others during the outbreak of a contagious disease in order to minimize exposure and reduce the transmission of infection : physically distance
At Georgia Tech, more than 200 students have come down with flu-like symptoms and five have been confirmed as having swine flu. … Tech has not instituted a quarantine, although ailing students have been advised to socially distance themselves from other students.Kristina Torres
The advent of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and other data security measures that allow people to work from home when needed is insulating some businesses during this crisis as well. … [Rob] Arnold said that socially distancing ourselves in that way really offers a way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.John Joyce

Examples of socially distance in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Her community practices a cultural tradition of socially distancing widows, but Sanjivani unexpectedly finds healing when a mental health experiment instead brings widows together. Leo Barraclough, Variety, 14 Mar. 2024 In these non-congregate motel shelters, people could socially distance and curb the spread of the highly contagious virus. Ariane Lange, Sacramento Bee, 27 Feb. 2024 Those who still mask and socially distance are making peace with most others no longer doing so. Jody Barens Moran has been hypervigilant about avoiding another bout of covid to protect her teenage son, who has a rare genetic disorder and a weak immune system. Fenit Nirappil, Aara'l Yarber and Sheila Regan, Anchorage Daily News, 25 June 2023 The two worked on the book throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, occasionally meeting up at an outdoor space and socially distancing themselves. Seth Combs, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 May 2023 Independence Park, where the festival is taking place, boasts more than 150 acres for people to spread out and socially distance. Brittanie Shey, Chron, 30 Mar. 2023 The Tap Yard first opened on 84th and Layton in Greenfield during the pandemic to provide people with an entertainment option when everyone was socially distancing, The Tap Yard owner Nick Marking said. Cathy Kozlowicz, Journal Sentinel, 28 Mar. 2023 The family attended one Georgia football game during Brock’s senior year of high school, but pandemic restrictions limited the crowd to less than 30,000, socially distanced in groups of four. Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 Mar. 2023 At a large meatpacking plant in the Midwest, an employee described how workers had to show up extra early to check into a trailer in the facility parking lot to get their temperatures checked — unable to socially distance and risking Covid-19 exposure, while also waiting in line for unpaid time. Ambar Castillo, STAT, 1 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'socially distance.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1980, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of socially distance was in 1980

Dictionary Entries Near socially distance

Cite this Entry

“Socially distance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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