April 14, 2013
isolate (verb)
\EYE-suh-layt\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to set or keep apart from others
How do you use it?
Jeremy had to isolate himself for a few hours so he could finish his project for the science fair.
Are you a word wiz?

Which word do you think is a relative of "isolate"?

At the root of both "isolate" and "peninsula" is the Latin word "insula" meaning "island." Italian speakers adopted "insula" to form "isola," meaning "island," and French speakers adopted "isola" as "isolé." English speakers borrowed "isolé" and formed the adjective "isolated" which they used to mean "set apart." Finally, the verb "isolate" developed from "isolated" as a back-formation, which is a word formed after taking away a part of an already existing longer word. "Peninsula" comes from the Latin "paeninsula" which traces to the combination of the Latin word "paene," meaning "almost," plus "insula."
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