Definition of insular in English:



  • 1Ignorant of or uninterested in cultures, ideas, or peoples outside one's own experience.

    ‘a stubbornly insular farming people’
    • ‘Even in famously insular Japan, travel is producing a far more worldly generation.’
    • ‘Opponents of the nomination declared it to be the product of cronyism that revealed an insular, arrogant White House.’
    • ‘This backwardness with respect to the churches of the continental and insular west was nevertheless overcome by means of a form of cultural evolution.’
    • ‘Is it any wonder that people think America is insular and isolationist, if major press institutions can't even be bothered to put in the ten seconds of effort it would take to spell the name of our governing party properly?’
    • ‘Religious heresy denunciations do not appear often, outside of certain insular ultra-orthodox circles.’
    • ‘The USA is accused of being an insular, isolated society for all the wrong reasons: the correct reason is that Americans feel strength from their insularity, and confidence from being isolated.’
    • ‘Quebec being small, in regard to its institutions, and somewhat insular because of its cultural history, its people have always perceived Canadian cinema as being foreign.’
    • ‘He says that I am repressive, intolerant, populist, insular, sloppy, and ignorant.’
    • ‘This is why cities in which more citizens have traveled around the world are typically more beautiful and prosperous cities, and why cities whose citizens are closed-minded and insular are ugly and poor.’
    • ‘My emnity is directed at management, which has an odd insular culture that seems utterly unaware of how their decisions affect the customer.’
    • ‘For all the globalisation of the twenty-first century, we live in a fairly insular society where ‘outside’ opinions are seldom expressed or discussed.’
    • ‘Moreover, few outside influences had ever been incorporated into this music, making this a very insular culture.’
    • ‘He ends by saying that sadly his guess is that the screening programme will continue to muddle along within the insular world of the ministry.’
    • ‘Because no one outside the insular world of boxing can name one pug that he has under contract.’
    • ‘But its managerial culture was incredibly insular.’
    • ‘Though police inhabited an intensely insular culture, they shared one primary reference point with the citizens in whose name they served: the street.’
    • ‘Do you worry that being self-referential makes your work too insular, thereby limiting your audience?’
    • ‘Funny that the people making the comments don't seem aware of how they look to those outside their insular group.’
    • ‘Instead of making them more insular, it has opened them to wider influences.’
    • ‘The Japanese are an island people and, until fairly recently, were somewhat insular in accepting influences and imports from the rest of the world.’
    narrow-minded, limited, blinkered, restricted, inward-looking, conventional, parochial, provincial, small-town, localist, small-minded, petty-minded, petty, close-minded, short-sighted, myopic, hidebound, dyed-in-the-wool, diehard, set, set in one's ways, inflexible, dogmatic, rigid, entrenched, illiberal, intolerant, prejudiced, bigoted, biased, partisan, sectarian, xenophobic, discriminatory
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    1. 1.1 Lacking contact with other people.
      ‘people living restricted and sometimes insular existences’
      • ‘Michael felt much the same, but he found it impossible to be as private and insular as Carl.’
      • ‘I think back and I feel I was a very quiet, insular child and what dance offered me was an opportunity to just be in this most wonderful space.’
      • ‘When I ask him about his own character, he uses the words insular, shy, reserved and private.’
      • ‘The book is a riveting character study of a fiercely intelligent and insular man coming to terms with his sexuality.’
      • ‘They are discovering that the abnormal city of Las Vegas allows them perhaps the most normal, nine-to-five-style schedules and insular lives that stage stars can find beyond Broadway.’
      • ‘As a result, we have become very insular, and my parents in particular have found it difficult to form lasting friendships, or indeed temporary acquaintanceships.’
      • ‘The peace and quiet of small town America seems to suit the taciturn Finn, but Joe, the loudmouth coffee wagon operator who parks outside Finn's depot, challenges Finn's insular existence.’
      • ‘I was at the time insular and somewhat passive.’
      • ‘In human-created environments, surrounded by concrete and asphalt, we often feel isolated and insular - as though we are protected from the forces of nature.’
      • ‘We, in our society, too frequently place ourselves in insular groups that do not freely talk to one another.’
      isolated, inaccessible, cut off, closed, separate, segregated, detached, solitary, lonely, insulated, self-contained, self-sufficient
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  • 2Relating to or from an island.

    ‘goods of insular origin’
    • ‘In the last 750 years before Caesar, Britain adopted many of the characteristics of the successive phases of the Continental Iron Age, though often with insular variations.’
    • ‘In particular, areas between reserves were not as inhospitable to species in the reserves as oceans were to insular species.’
    • ‘In part, because Australia you know is an insular continent and islands have suffered disproportionately because their faunas are often isolated and not used to invading disturbances.’
    • ‘Several years later, this hypothesis shaped a large part of island biogeography theory, and the ease of insular invasions was often attributed to the lack of competition.’
    • ‘Key Russian analysts and politicians view this as a new geostrategic competition between an insular and a continental power in a bipolar geopolitical setting.’
    • ‘In marked contrast to previous morphometric results, a clear separation between continental and insular samples was found, and intermediates between H. balearica and H. valentina samples were not detected.’
    • ‘Today the island is home to a large colony of little terns and is the only insular colony in Ireland.’
    • ‘When there is a strategic stand-off between insular and continental prowess, each side has to use its environmentally based superiority to seek decisive advantage in the geography preferred by the foe.’
    • ‘They prefer the warm environment of coastal waters along continental and insular shelves.’
    • ‘Tracing the origin of plant taxa inhabiting islands has been one of the most exciting topics in insular biogeography.’
    • ‘This distinctly insular style owed little to continental trends and was the source of considerable admiration from foreign visitors.’
    • ‘Sinistral clades also did not originate in the less planktonically productive insular Indo-West Pacific and Caribbean.’
    • ‘Plantations, slave revolts, colonial governance, the insular existence, the sea, hurricanes, and many other elements contributed to the cultural synthesis.’
    • ‘In addition, these mutations would segregate at higher frequencies in the insular than in the continental species.’
    • ‘They are commonly found along the continental or insular shelves as well as freshwater estuaries or mangrove marshes.’
    • ‘The groupings were made on the basis of location, while taking into consideration the continental and insular outcrop of the Cubagua Formation.’
    • ‘Island populations and insular endemics thus appear to be especially vulnerable to extinction due to genetic factors.’
    • ‘Marine habitats throughout the insular Pacific are increasingly threatened by human activity.’
    1. 2.1 Relating to a form of Latin handwriting used in Britain and Ireland in the early Middle Ages.
      ‘insular illumination of the 6th century’
      • ‘Gold and silver were sometimes used in the production of manuscripts (after the early insular script).’
      • ‘Biblical manuscripts, Gospels and psalters, were the most elaborately illuminated products of insular, Carolingian, Ottonian, and Anglo-Saxon art.’
    2. 2.2 (of climate) equable because of the influence of the sea.
      • ‘Shalisa Creek Bay had been settling in for a day of quiet, insular restfulness.’
  • 3Anatomy
    Relating to the insula of the brain.

    • ‘Even among the poorly differentiated tumors, insular carcinomas did not show any significant differences in survival compared with noninsular carcinoma cases.’
    • ‘The claustrum is a layer of gray matter that lies on the medial aspect of the insular cortex, from which it is separated by a sheet of white fibers known as the extreme capsule.’
    • ‘What this told us was that he had damage to two areas of the brain: the insular cortex and parts of the basal ganglia.’
    • ‘The central sulcus of the insula runs upwards and backwards, dividing the insular cortex into a precentral lobule with short gyri and a postcentral lobule with one or two long gyri.’
    • ‘The insular cortex is indented by a number of sulci, one of which - the central sulcus of the insula - is deeper and more prominent than the rest.’


Mid 16th century (as a noun denoting an islander): from late Latin insularis, from insula ‘island’.