[ verb ahy-suh-leyt; noun, adjective ahy-suh-lit, -leyt ]
See synonyms for: isolateisolatedisolating on

verb (used with object),i·so·lat·ed, i·so·lat·ing.
  1. to set or place apart; detach or separate so as to be alone.

  2. Medicine/Medical. to keep (an infected person) from contact with noninfected persons; quarantine.

  1. Chemistry, Bacteriology. to obtain (a substance or microorganism) in an uncombined or pure state.

  2. Electricity. to insulate.

  3. Television. to single out (a person, action, etc.) for a camera closeup.

  1. a person, thing, or group that is set apart or isolated, as for purposes of study.

  2. Psychology. a person, often shy or lacking in social skills, who avoids the company of others and has no friends within a group.

  1. Biology. an inbreeding population that is isolated from similar populations by physiological, behavioral, or geographic barriers.

  2. Also called language isolate. Linguistics. a language with no demonstrable genetic relationship, as Basque.

  3. something that has been isolated, as a by-product in a manufacturing process: an isolate of soy flour.

  1. isolated; alone.

Origin of isolate

First recorded in 1800–10; back formation from isolated

Other words from isolate

  • i·so·la·tor, noun
  • re·i·so·late, verb (used with object), re·i·so·lat·ed, re·i·so·lat·ing.
  • un·i·so·late, verb (used with object), un·i·so·lat·ed, un·i·so·lat·ing.

Words Nearby isolate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use isolate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for isolate


verb(ˈaɪsəˌleɪt) (tr)
  1. to place apart; cause to be alone

  2. med to quarantine (a person or animal) having or suspected of having a contagious disease

  1. to obtain (a compound) in an uncombined form

  2. to obtain pure cultures of (bacteria, esp those causing a particular disease)

  3. electronics to prevent interaction between (circuits, components, etc); insulate

  1. an isolated person or group

Origin of isolate

C19: back formation from isolated, via Italian from Latin insulātus, literally: made into an island; see insulate

Derived forms of isolate

  • isolable, adjective
  • isolability, noun
  • isolator, noun

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