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

v place or set apart

“They isolated the political prisoners from the other inmates”
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separate or isolate (one thing) from another and place in a group apart from others
ghettoise, ghettoize
put in a ghetto
seclude from the world in or as if in a cloister
seclude, sequester, sequestrate, withdraw
keep away from others
place into enforced isolation, as for medical reasons
leave stranded on a desert island without resources
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discriminate, separate, single out
treat differently on the basis of sex or race

v set apart from others

keep apart, sequester, sequestrate, set apart
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disunite, divide, part, separate
force, take, or pull apart

v obtain in pure form

“The chemist managed to isolate the compound”
isolate beforehand
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acquire, get
come into the possession of something concrete or abstract

v separate (experiences) from the emotions relating to them

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assort, class, classify, separate, sort, sort out
arrange or order by classes or categories

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