socially distance

verb
socially distanced; socially distancing; socially distances

Definition of socially distance

transitive verb

1 : 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.
2 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

First Known Use of socially distance

1980, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About socially distance

Time Traveler for socially distance

Time Traveler

The first known use of socially distance was in 1980

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near socially distance

socially

socially distance

social media

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for socially distance

Cite this Entry

“Socially distance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/socially%20distance. Accessed 1 Jul. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!