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

1984, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler

The first known use of socially distance was in 1984

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Cite this Entry

“Socially distance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/socially%20distance. Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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