Definition of isolate in US English:



[with object]
Pronunciation /ˈaɪsəˌleɪt//ˈīsəˌlāt/
  • 1Cause (a person or place) to be or remain alone or apart from others.

    ‘a country that is isolated from the rest of the world’
    • ‘The current situation isolates and marginalises families who most often have to try and survive on just one income.’
    • ‘We used to hear news of the cease-fire on the car radio, but now we are isolated from the world.’
    • ‘With war imminent, the US is becoming increasingly isolated diplomatically.’
    • ‘We are really isolated from the rest of our planet.’
    • ‘She was isolated from her former colleagues and fed up in McConnell's Cabinet.’
    • ‘He was isolated from other patients and put on specialist drugs to try and combat the infection.’
    • ‘Increasingly isolated politically and weakened economically, Pyongyang has resorted to an international politics of survival.’
    • ‘Here, Charlie certainly feels separate and alone, as if he is totally isolated from all those around him.’
    • ‘First of all, we put ourselves in a position where we were really isolated from our friends and family.’
    • ‘Yet the city has always felt geographically isolated from the rest of Canada.’
    • ‘When Winston Churchill opposed the conventional wisdom that Hitler was tolerable, he was isolated from public life, his sanity questioned.’
    • ‘The village was completely isolated from the rest of the world and had a very peaceful and self-sufficient existence.’
    • ‘He is isolated from human contact and immersed in the inanimate scene.’
    • ‘And so, this was a signal that was sent to further isolate Colin Powell.’
    • ‘Mr. Fogel said the real goal of the legal effort was to further isolate Israel.’
    • ‘During the last two to three decades, we were practically isolated from the outside world.’
    • ‘We were well isolated from the run-down neighborhoods and troubled conditions of the city.’
    • ‘She was isolated from her family and eventually did not have even a place to stay.’
    • ‘In New Orleans, they found themselves socially isolated and ostracized.’
    • ‘Another popular theory is that because Penghu is relatively isolated geographically it will be difficult for criminals to get away.’
    separate, set apart, segregate, detach, cut off, keep apart, cocoon, insulate, quarantine, keep in solitude, sequester, cloister, seclude, divorce, shut away, alienate, distance, exclude, keep out
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Identify (something) and examine or deal with it separately.
      ‘you can't isolate stress from the management context’
      • ‘If the entire world spoke at once, could you reliably isolate what a single individual is saying?’
      • ‘The goal is to identify and isolate three dozen such targets that could be destroyed by precision strikes.’
      • ‘Once that trend is identified, we can isolate the cause through other means and look at ways of addressing more specific problems.’
      • ‘To reach the right solution, isolate what's causing the problem.’
      • ‘To try to isolate a factor responsible for controlling mite populations in bee colonies.’
      identify, single out, pick out, spot, point out, recognize, pinpoint, pin down, put one's finger on, discern, distinguish, discover, find, locate
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Chemistry Biology Obtain or extract (a compound, microorganism, etc.) in a pure form.
      • ‘Mutants isolated in the screen were divided into three classes on the basis of phenotype.’
      • ‘However, it was not until the early nineteenth century that these compounds were reproducibly isolated and analyzed.’
      • ‘Strain 90-226 was originally isolated from the blood of a patient with sepsis.’
      • ‘But first, they had to isolate the compound in pure form.’
      • ‘Total yeast RNA was isolated by hot phenol extraction.’
    3. 1.3 Cut off the electrical or other connection to (something, especially a part of a supply network).
      • ‘How are connections to customer networks isolated?’
      • ‘In event of a thermal runaway, electrical power should be isolated, and no attempt should be made to handle or move the battery for at least 30 minutes.’
      • ‘The supermarket called a refrigeration engineer who isolated the supply of leaking refrigeration gas and began to repair the leak.’
      • ‘Gas and electricity engineers were called to isolate the supplies.’
      • ‘The fire spread to the electrical space below, but a quick response by the crew ensured power was isolated and the fire dealt with, although nine crewmen were injured through smoke inhalation.’
    4. 1.4 Place (a person or animal) in quarantine as a precaution against infectious or contagious disease.
      • ‘Most likely your veterinarian or local aquarium store will recommend isolating your infected fish or disposing of them.’
      • ‘Patients with ‘active’ disease are infectious and must be isolated until the disease is controlled.’
      • ‘People with infectious diseases may be isolated from those they might infect.’
      • ‘When a child is sick with scarlet fever due to a strep throat infection, it is wise to isolate him or her from other family members, especially infants and very young brothers and sisters.’
      • ‘The first cluster was that of healthcare workers in the two wards that he stayed before he was isolated.’
      separate, set apart, segregate, detach, cut off, keep apart, cocoon, insulate, quarantine, keep in solitude, sequester, cloister, seclude, divorce, shut away, alienate, distance, exclude, keep out
      View synonyms


Pronunciation /ˈaɪsələt//ˈīsələt/
  • 1A person or thing that has been or become isolated.

    ‘social isolates often become careless of their own welfare’
    • ‘It has been suggested that snowballing may undersample social isolates, those of low education, social class, or income, as well as social deviants.’
    • ‘The men who end up on Skid Row are social isolates.’
    • ‘But in high school, they tended to be outsiders - social isolates or whatever.’
    • ‘What Stendhal is saying is that none of us are romantic isolates; we are social animals, being watched by potential allies and enemies.’
    • ‘On the other hand, isolates are at greater risk for a variety of social and emotional problems, which, in turn, may be risk factors for substance use.’
    • ‘Senator Campbell says that, by not agreeing with the government, we isolates on this side, are putting the community at risk.’
    • ‘Large bodies of opinion in Israel unjustifiably view its society as an isolate within the Middle East.’
    • ‘Some, but not all of these creators were social isolates, eccentrics, and obsessives.’
    • ‘These monkeys often end up social isolates, rejected by potential mates and often dying before they reach adolescence, he said.’
    • ‘Since I'm sure I'd become a paranoid isolate, I'll add DSM-IV to the list.’
    • ‘Despite that, he seems happy in a writerly isolate's sort of way.’
    • ‘As John Wesley, himself ‘converted’ by the words of Luther, was later to say, he could no more envisage holy isolates than holy adulterers.’
    loner, solitary, lone wolf
    View synonyms
  • 2Biology
    A culture of microorganisms isolated for study.

    • ‘The invasive isolates were mostly obtained from blood whereas the non invasive isolates were isolated from throat.’
    • ‘Overall, 189 bacterial isolates from 149 patients were misidentified.’
    • ‘Our study was based on clinical isolates obtained from patients.’
    • ‘Tetracycline resistance was detected in the isolates recovered from blood.’
    • ‘We analyzed 32 isolates representing 14 species of the subgenus Daphnia.’


Early 19th century (as a verb): back-formation from isolated.