[in-suh-ler, ins-yuh-]
See more synonyms for insular on
  1. of or relating to an island or islands: insular possessions.
  2. dwelling or situated on an island.
  3. forming an island: insular rocks.
  4. detached; standing alone; isolated.
  5. of, relating to, or characteristic of islanders.
  6. narrow-minded or illiberal; provincial: insular attitudes toward foreigners.
  7. Pathology. occurring in or characterized by one or more isolated spots, patches, or the like.
  8. Anatomy. pertaining to an island of cells or tissue, as the islets of Langerhans.
  1. an inhabitant of an island; islander.

Origin of insular

From the Late Latin word insulāris, dating back to 1605–15. See insula, -ar1
Related formsin·su·lar·ism, nounin·su·lar·i·ty, nounin·su·lar·ly, adverbin·ter·in·su·lar, adjectivetrans·in·su·lar, adjectiveun·in·su·lar, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for insular

Contemporary Examples of insular

Historical Examples of insular

  • That made him angry, and he said that insular envy made me unresponsive.

    American Notes

    Rudyard Kipling

  • Besides, wasn't it all rather sudden, from an insular point of view?

  • To the insular cynic and the insular moralist they offer an equal opportunity.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • Practice as an advocate, and push your way to insular preferment?

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • It was in a large envelope and had come by the insular post.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for insular


  1. of, relating to, or resembling an island
  2. remote, detached, or aloof
  3. illiberal or narrow-minded
  4. isolated or separated
Derived Formsinsularism or insularity (ˌɪnsjʊˈlærɪtɪ), nouninsularly, adverb

Word Origin for insular

C17: from Late Latin insulāris, from Latin insula island, isle
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 insular

1610s, "of or pertaining to an island," from Late Latin insularis, from Latin insula "island" (see isle). Metaphoric sense "narrow, prejudiced" is 1775, from notion of being cut off from intercourse with other nations, especially with reference to the situation of Great Britain. Earlier adjective in the literal sense was insulan (mid-15c.), from Latin insulanus.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

insular in Medicine


[ĭnsə-lər, ĭnsyə-]
  1. Of or being an isolated tissue or island of tissue.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.