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insulate

[in-suh-leyt, ins-yuh-]
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verb (used with object), in·su·lat·ed, in·su·lat·ing.
  1. to cover, line, or separate with a material that prevents or reduces the passage, transfer, or leakage of heat, electricity, or sound: to insulate an electric wire with a rubber sheath; to insulate a coat with down.
  2. to place in an isolated situation or condition; segregate.

Origin of insulate

First recorded in 1530–40, insulate is from the Latin word insulātus made into an island. See insula, -ate1
Related formsnon·in·su·lat·ing, adjectivepre·in·su·late, verb (used with object), pre·in·su·lat·ed, pre·in·su·lat·ing.re·in·su·late, verb (used with object), re·in·su·lat·ed, re·in·su·lat·ing.su·per·in·su·lat·ed, adjectiveun·in·su·lat·ed, adjectivewell-in·su·lat·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for insulate

insulate

verb (tr)
  1. to prevent or reduce the transmission of electricity, heat, or sound to or from (a body, device, or region) by surrounding with a nonconducting material
  2. to isolate or detach

Word Origin

C16: from Late Latin insulātus: made into an island
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for insulate

v.

1530s, "make into an island," from Latin insulatus, from insula (see insular). Sense of "cause a person or thing to be detached from surroundings" is from 1785. Electrical/chemical sense of "block from electricity or heat" is from 1742. Related: Insulated; insulating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper