Definition of insulate in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Protect (something) by interposing material that prevents the loss of heat or the intrusion of sound.

    ‘the room was heavily insulated against all outside noise’
    • ‘If you place the access outside, be sure it is insulated and weatherstripped against both the elements and intrusion by insects or small animals.’
    • ‘Two rival theories are based on the roles of feathers in insulating the body against heat loss and in providing an aerodynamic surface for flight.’
    • ‘Determine whether you will be using the space for living and want to heat it or prefer to just insulate the main part of the house below the attic.’
    • ‘The problem you'll be attempting to solve by doing the experiment in this section is which materials insulate best against windchill.’
    • ‘To help keep your floors warmer and reduce your heating bills, it is a good idea to insulate your floors.’
    • ‘One thing we would recommend people to do would be to insulate their home as well as they can before they start sticking on wind turbines.’
    • ‘Finally, while the soil insulates a home during winter, it also protects it from sun rays in summer, which can reduce or even completely eliminate the need for air conditioning.’
    • ‘Wireless radios will be positioned on moving glaciers, and gear must be insulated against temperatures far colder than they were designed to withstand.’
    • ‘To start… Using pouring or blowing materials is an easy way to insulate your attic.’
    • ‘Heat also escapes through the edges of a concrete slab foundation, so insulate them as well.’
    • ‘With hot water heating systems, the diameter of the piping remains constant, the slope is irrelevant, and all lines are insulated to prevent heat loss.’
    • ‘The blankets are specially insulated to keep heat in.’
    • ‘When insulating on the inside of stone and brick foundations, do not insulate the joist space.’
    • ‘The soles of their feet are covered with fur which cushions them on hard ground and insulates them from the scorching heat of hot desert sands.’
    • ‘He was proud of the fact that the pipes and the attic in his home are insulated, thus conserving heat.’
    • ‘Also, food takes longer to cook in a nonstick pan because the coating insulates the food from the heat.’
    • ‘Saab has cunningly thickened and insulated the canvas top to reduce ambient sound, an aspect which could also prove a boon when someone with a Stanley knife comes along to try to steal your CD-changer.’
    • ‘And because of its mass, brick naturally insulates your home from outside sounds.’
    • ‘However, insulating a millimeter-square battery in a way that minimizes heat loss is no easy task.’
    • ‘To reduce heat gain, the roof is insulated with a layer of polyurethane foam coated with a light-reflecting granular finish.’
    wrap, cover, encase, enclose, envelop, swathe, sheathe, bundle up
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Prevent the passage of electricity to or from (something) by covering it in nonconducting material.
      ‘the case is carefully insulated to prevent short circuits’
      • ‘Other uses include applications in nanoscale electronics, where the nanotubes can be used as conducting or insulating materials.’
      • ‘Vegetable oils are gentler on the cellulose-based paper that insulates the transformer coils.’
      • ‘Chemicals covered by the agreement include PCBs, which are used to insulate electric transformers and as additives in plastics and paint, and pesticides such as DDT.’
      • ‘The no.25 series was the same as no.20 except it was insulated for electrical work.’
      • ‘PCBs were used to insulate transformers; because the chemical is so inert, it is a tremendously effective insulator.’
      • ‘Red rubber catheters should never be used to insulate the ESU active electrode.’
      • ‘A second insulator layer electrically insulates the wires from the electroconductor layer and the semiconductor substrate.’
      • ‘Wires should be double insulated, and firmly attached to the plug by the cord restraint.’
      • ‘Two flat steel bands run through the spine of the lamp, which insulate power feeds and prevent the lamp from buckling.’
      • ‘Neurons were also coupled to electrically insulated semiconductors which offer an interfacing without electrochemical currents that may damage electrodes and cells.’
      • ‘Dielectric materials are used to insulate circuits and cables from each other deep inside the machinery, making sure currents flow where they are supposed to and do not disturb other components.’
      • ‘A ground strap bolted to the engine block may not do the job; head gaskets, silicon, and bolt sealer can electrically insulate the cylinder heads from ground.’
      • ‘A series of molecules that Bennett has developed are unique because they have the potential to yield insulated nano-scale wires.’
      • ‘These cables are either duplex, triplex, or quadruplex, consisting of one, two or three insulated conductors wrapped around a bare aluminum or acsr neutral.’
    2. 1.2 Protect from the unpleasant effects or elements of something.
      ‘he claims that the service is complacent and insulated from outside pressures’
      • ‘He is insulated from being held accountable for making bad laws and regulations.’
      • ‘You are insulated from the stock market because the company guarantees you will get a proportion of your income when you retire.’
      • ‘For nearly six years the mighty dollar was entirely insulated from trade data, one of the main determinants of currency market movements in conventional economic theory.’
      • ‘So it is only fair that the police are insulated against the madness that they are expected to control, and which they are not able to with any degree of success.’
      • ‘This policy allows the US to guard the liberty of its citizens, to protect and insulate them against malevolent forms of interference in their lives.’
      • ‘They allow considerable flexibility for any bright ideas we might get along the way, and we are insulated from many of the hassles encountered in traveling.’
      • ‘By preventing subnational governments from using internal trade barriers to insulate local firms from market competition, this condition helps level the economic playing field.’
      • ‘In political terms the minister can be isolated from and insulated against accountability for the day to day implementation and administration of policy.’
      • ‘Contrary to what has been claimed, the theory is not insulated against attempts to disconfirm it.’
      • ‘The commission is supposed to be an independent body, which means its decisions are insulated against political considerations.’
      • ‘For some it was a profound shock to realise that we are not insulated from the pain and death that accompany life at every point and in every person.’
      • ‘And it is best if they are insulated from marketplace constraints, that is the whole point of the non-profit sector.’
      • ‘Whether the talk is of tops, bottoms, recoveries or downturns, the adherence to a sound set of investing guidelines will always insulate stock pickers from wasting time thinking about the market's next move.’
      • ‘And even as I seek to insulate her from those influences, I am not sure that I can.’
      • ‘Many financial institutions are now insulated against higher interest rates.’
      • ‘They ensured relative stability by preventing ruinous competition and insulating the system against outside influences.’
      • ‘An appointed body, the theory went, would be insulated from influence peddling, and thus better equipped than politicians to safeguard the public.’
      • ‘In my view, it is the obligation of the adults to act in a mature manner and seek and obtain whatever therapy is necessary to ensure that the child is insulated from their personal antagonisms.’
      • ‘The middle classes on the other hand were entirely insulated from the social impact of immigration and could see nothing but advantages to be gained from its economics.’
      • ‘The diversification of applications and end users driving demand insulates telecoms against a downturn in any one sector.’
      protect, keep safe, keep from harm, save, safeguard, shield, defend, shelter, screen, cushion, cocoon
      View synonyms
  • 2archaic Make (land) into an island.

    ‘the village was insulated by every flood of the river’
    • ‘The city was insulated by heavy seasonal overspill.’


Mid 16th century (in insulate (sense 2)): from Latin insula ‘island’ + -ate.