isolate

When you remove or set apart one thing from others, you isolate it. You could isolate yourself from people by living in a remote hut or, if you're a biologist, you could isolate a chromosome.

The verb isolate comes from the adjective isolated, which comes from the Latin insulatas, meaning “made into an island.” You may have heard the John Donne quote, “No man is an island.” Donne was claiming that no matter how much you might try to isolate yourself from the rest of humanity, in the end people are all connected to one another. Humanity’s need for connectedness may, in fact, be illustrated by the fact that jailers frequently isolate criminals as punishment.

Definitions of isolate
  1. verb
    place or set apart
    “They isolated the political prisoners from the other inmates”
    synonyms: insulate
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 6 types...
    hide 6 types...
    segregate
    separate or isolate (one thing) from another and place in a group apart from others
    ghettoise, ghettoize
    put in a ghetto
    cloister
    seclude from the world in or as if in a cloister
    seclude, sequester, sequestrate, withdraw
    keep away from others
    quarantine
    place into enforced isolation, as for medical reasons
    maroon
    leave stranded on a desert island without resources
    type of:
    discriminate, separate, single out
    treat differently on the basis of sex or race
  2. verb
    set apart from others
    synonyms: keep apart, sequester, sequestrate, set apart
    see moresee less
    type of:
    disunite, divide, part, separate
    force, take, or pull apart
  3. verb
    obtain in pure form
    “The chemist managed to isolate the compound”
    see moresee less
    types:
    preisolate
    isolate beforehand
    type of:
    acquire, get
    come into the possession of something concrete or abstract
  4. verb
    separate (experiences) from the emotions relating to them
    see moresee less
    type of:
    assort, class, classify, separate, sort, sort out
    arrange or order by classes or categories
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week