Definition of quarantine in US English:



  • A state, period, or place of isolation in which people or animals that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to infectious or contagious disease are placed.

    ‘many animals die in quarantine’
    • ‘The puppy was flown to Austria and then transported to Holland where another breeder was employed to care for him for six months, while he was in quarantine.’
    • ‘Hundreds of immigrants, mostly English and some Irish, died on the island while in quarantine.’
    • ‘Isabel and the two older boys also succumbed to diphtheria and were in quarantine for a month.’
    • ‘Buster had to spend six months in quarantine on his return from Iraq.’
    • ‘When the birds finally arrive in England, they will spend 28 days in quarantine, before moving to a large pen with soft sides.’
    • ‘The English are very strict on their anti-rabies regulations and sometimes keep animals in quarantine for six months.’
    • ‘Paul is due to return to his family in Preston later this week but Elliot will remain in quarantine for six months before he is allowed to come home.’
    • ‘Some 4,000 cattle in two herds remain in quarantine because of the concerns about mad cow disease.’
    • ‘The first beavers could arrive in Britain by autumn and would be released after six months in quarantine.’
    • ‘The five who are expected to go home to Hong Kong will be placed in quarantine for 10 days on their return.’
    • ‘Patients are considered contagious and should remain in quarantine until all scabs separate.’
    • ‘Was she in quarantine to protect most of her immediate family from the disease that was about to end her life?’
    • ‘The whole family was put in quarantine for a month but soon after she had recovered from one disease Julia was struck down with another, namely rheumatic fever.’
    • ‘As the period for keeping them in quarantine was over, they were shifted to the exhibit area.’
    • ‘The chicks will arrive on Salisbury Plain on June 23 and spend a month in quarantine before moving to a large enclosure.’
    • ‘For nearly one hundred years, bringing a pet into Britain involved a six month period in quarantine.’
    • ‘They'll study them in quarantine to determine their efficacy and safety.’
    • ‘The tiger was in quarantine while surgeons undertook emergency surgery on its owner.’
    • ‘Like their hosts, the plant pathogens are also of foreign origin and are thus kept in quarantine.’
    • ‘After the transplant she had to spend six months in quarantine to avoid catching an infection while her immune system recovered, but now she is fit and well.’
    separation, setting apart, keeping apart, sorting out
    View synonyms


[with object]
  • Impose isolation on (a person, animal, or place); put in quarantine.

    • ‘If foot-and-mouth does hit this area and we are quarantined, we won't even be able to do this.’
    • ‘Currently, nearly 40 patients positive for HIV are quarantined on their own floor.’
    • ‘The Chinese man suffering from leprosy is quarantined in a tent by the river on the edge of town.’
    • ‘The property has been quarantined and all animals will be tested.’
    • ‘The patients are now quarantined in normal wards and recovering from fever, the Central News Agency reported.’
    • ‘The aircraft was met by state and federal agencies, including customs and police, who quarantined it for screening.’
    • ‘The farm's 12,000 chickens were destroyed and farms within two miles were quarantined.’
    • ‘A day later the 500 bed Ditan Hospital, one of six in the city designated for SARS patients, was also quarantined.’
    • ‘In October some guests were quarantined in their rooms after a similar outbreak of sickness.’
    • ‘The Public Security Bureau will crack down on anyone who refuses to be quarantined or undergo medical observation.’
    • ‘In the old days the disease was terrible, but survivable: farms were quarantined and the animals nursed.’
    • ‘In the case of an outbreak of a viral hemorrhagic fever, infected people should be quarantined.’
    • ‘So now my poor little 6 year old and I are quarantined in our home.’
    • ‘Because the aim, as I see it, will be for embassies to get all the ex-pats and tourists home before borders are closed to us and we are quarantined.’
    • ‘The building has been quarantined since the mail anthrax attack in October 2001.’
    • ‘In this situation, Ponter actually does get sick and almost dies and all those who made contact with him are quarantined.’
    • ‘He acknowledged to himself that he viewed Horatio as more than an officer when he was quarantined on that plague ship.’
    • ‘Until results of the biological test are satisfactory, the sterilizer should be quarantined.’
    • ‘Bedford School is not quarantining pupils who have returned from affected areas, but is monitoring their temperatures twice a day.’
    • ‘Some areas are quarantining returning migrants, while teams are being organised to bring in crops so that workers don't have to return to help with the harvest, they said.’
    separate, set apart, segregate, detach, cut off, keep apart, cocoon, insulate, keep in solitude, sequester, cloister, seclude, divorce, shut away, alienate, distance, exclude, keep out
    View synonyms


Mid 17th century: from Italian quarantina ‘forty days’, from quaranta ‘forty’.