Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To cause to be in a detached or isolated position. See Synonyms at isolate.
  • transitive v. To prevent the passage of heat, electricity, or sound into or out of, especially by surrounding with a nonconducting material.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To separate, detach, or isolate.
  • v. To separate a body or material from others, eg. by non-conductors to prevent the transfer of electricity, heat, etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To make an island of.
  • transitive v. To place in a detached situation, or in a state having no communication with surrounding objects; to isolate; to separate.
  • transitive v. To prevent the transfer of electricity or heat to or from (bodies) by the interposition of nonconductors.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make an island of (a place) by surrounding it with water.
  • To place in an isolated situation or condition; set apart from immediate contact or association with others; detach; segregate.
  • In electricity and thermotics, to separate, as an electrified or heated body, from other bodies by the interposition of a non-conductor; more specifically, in the case of electricity, to separate from the earth (since an electrified body tends to part with its electricity to the earth).
  • In chem., to free from combination with other substances.
  • In entomology, detached from other parts or marks of the same kind.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. protect from heat, cold, or noise by surrounding with insulating material
  • v. place or set apart

Etymologies

Latin īnsula, island + -ate1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Late Latin insulatus ("made like an island"), past participle of insulare ("to make like an island"), from insula ("island"); see insular. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I suppose I could also consider installing a suspended ceiling inside to help insulate from the radiant heat from the slab, but that wouldn't be my preferred option if I can avoid it.

    Insulating a concrete roof?

  • The idea that 12-year terms insulate Regents from political winds should be recognized as fantasy.

    The Berkeley Daily Planet, The East Bay's Independent Newspaper

  • Like the Electoral College -- which unfortunately still remains -- the point was to "insulate" politics from popular will.

    Sally Kohn: The 17th Amendment is Good for America

  • But it was either in private or he was protected by a group of people who knew how to kind of insulate him.

    CNN Transcript Jun 3, 2008

  • My muffaletta recipe from the Chicago Tribune about 12 years ago, also adds cream cheese as a first light layer to 'insulate' from too much soppage, I suppose, and also has tomato slices and fresh spinach leaves.

    Super Bowl Menu

  • But the effort to "insulate" federal judges from intellectual influences is foolish.

    Here Dumbs the Judge

  • And those kind of insulate some of the Republicans that are in trouble because there's more Republicans now in some of those districts.

    CNN Transcript Sep 5, 2006

  • Therefore you must "insulate" yourself -- that is, put on your hands something that will not let the electricity into your body -- or stand on something that will "insulate" you; for instance, rubber gloves or rubber tobacco pouches, dry silk handkerchiefs, other silk garments or newspapers used in place of gloves if necessary.

    Scouting For Girls, Official Handbook of the Girl Scouts

  • Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he's attracted to the idea of separating financial institutions' activities to "insulate" the economy from the risks taken by investment banks.

    BusinessWeek.com -- Top News

  • Juels said that it is important that cloud computing providers make sure they build in safeguards to "insulate" virtual machine from these kinds of data breaches.

    silicon.com :

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Comments

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  • To cause to be in a detached or isolated position. See Synonyms at isolate.
    v. To prevent the passage of heat, electricity, or sound into or out of, especially by surrounding with a nonconducting material.

    August 31, 2013

  • It is necessary to insulate a wire with a rubber tube.

    March 14, 2007