• synonyms


[ahy-luh nd]
See more synonyms for island on Thesaurus.com
  1. a tract of land completely surrounded by water, and not large enough to be called a continent.
  2. something resembling an island, especially in being isolated or having little or no direct communication with others.
  3. a raised platform with a counter or other work surface on top situated in the middle area of a room, especially a kitchen, so as to permit access from all sides.
  4. safety island.
  5. a low concrete platform for gasoline pumps at an automotive service station.
  6. a clump of woodland in a prairie.
  7. an isolated hill.
  8. Anatomy. an isolated portion of tissue differing in structure from the surrounding tissue.
  9. Railroads. a platform or building between sets of tracks.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to make into an island.
  2. to dot with islands.
  3. to place on an island; isolate.
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Origin of island

before 900; Middle English iland, Old English īgland, īland, variant of īegland, equivalent to īeg island (cognate with Old Norse ey) + land land; spelling with -s- by association with isle
Related formsis·land·ish, is·land·like, adjectiveis·land·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for island

peninsula, reef, archipelago, enclave, islet, isle, sanctuary, bar, shelter, retreat, key, haven, refuge, atoll, cay

Examples from the Web for island

Contemporary Examples of island

Historical Examples of island

  • She's sitting up nights to corner all the Amalgamated Hard-luck on the island.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I wonder how it would seem to live on such an island as this?

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • He began to think busily, and finally resolved to go to the island and search for him.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Feeling sure that there was no one on the island but himself, he thought he was deceived.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • And, of this island realm, he and his companion were the undisputed sovereigns.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

British Dictionary definitions for island


  1. a mass of land that is surrounded by water and is smaller than a continent
  2. See traffic island
  3. anatomy a part, structure, or group of cells distinct in constitution from its immediate surroundingsRelated adjective: insular
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verb (tr) rare
  1. to cause to become an island
  2. to intersperse with islands
  3. to place on an island; insulate; isolate
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Derived Formsisland-like, adjective

Word Origin for island

Old English īgland, from īg island + land; s inserted through influence of 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 island


1590s, earlier yland (c.1300), from Old English igland "island," from ieg "island" (from Proto-Germanic *aujo "thing on the water," from PIE *akwa- "water;" see aqua-) + land "land." Spelling modified 15c. by association with similar but unrelated isle. An Old English cognate was ealand "river-land, watered place, meadow by a river." In place names, Old English ieg is often used of "slightly raised dry ground offering settlement sites in areas surrounded by marsh or subject to flooding" [Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names]. Related: Islander.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

island in Medicine


  1. An isolated tissue or group of cells that is separated from the surrounding tissues by a groove or is marked by a difference in structure or function.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

island in Science


  1. A land mass, especially one smaller than a continent, entirely surrounded by water.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.