There are 2 main definitions of island in English:

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island 1

Pronunciation: /ˈʌɪlənd/


1A piece of land surrounded by water: the island of Crete [as modifier]: this island nation
More example sentences
  • The water which surrounds the island is a rich fishing ground for tuna and mackerel.
  • The world's smallest lizard has been discovered on a tiny Caribbean island off the coast of the Dominican Republic.
  • The tiny uninhabited island is in the Sea of Japan halfway between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
in the Caribbean key;
in Spanish America cay;
British  ait, holm;
Scottish  skerry;
(islandsarchipelago, chain, group
2A thing regarded as resembling an island, especially in being isolated, detached, or surrounded in some way: the university is the last island of democracy in this country
More example sentences
  • Most of the tables are outside in the garden, on separate isolated islands surrounded by flourishing plants that are apparently well taken care of.
  • He said the true meaning of civilisation and globalisation meant the adoption of the local culture and to blend with the local culture and not to make an isolated island of cultures.
  • Cambridge is very much an isolated island of student life outside UW.
2.1A traffic island.
Example sentences
  • There is ample land available at the eastern end to cater for a proper island and traffic calming zone.
  • They have put traffic calming islands in the road, but lorries just swerve round them like juggernauts.
  • I'm not talking about speed cameras, but traffic lights, pedestrian islands etc.
2.2A free-standing kitchen unit with a worktop, allowing access from all sides.
Example sentences
  • Ovens are built into the kitchen side of the island so they can't be seen from the rest of the room.
  • She flipped it open once again as she seated herself on a stool next to the island in the kitchen.
  • Beyond this, the kitchen is fitted with a range of wall and floor units, a centre island, recessed lighting and tiled worktops.
3 Anatomy A detached portion of tissue or group of cells. Compare with islet.
Example sentences
  • Stromal retraction between tumor islands and dermal connective tissue was observed in 12 cases.
  • It is not known how the cholesterol and fatty acids enter the cells of lipid islands.
  • The cell islands were further demarcated from the surrounding stroma by reticulin condensation around groups of cells.


Old English īegland, from īeg 'island' (from a base meaning 'watery, watered') + land. The change in the spelling of the first syllable in the 16th century was due to association with the unrelated word isle.

  • In spite of their similarity of form and meaning, island and isle (Middle English) are completely unrelated. The first is a native English word, with parallels in early forms of other north European languages, whereas the second came through French from Latin in medieval times. The first part of Old English īegland is īeg ‘island’, from a root meaning ‘watery’. People wrongly associated it with isle, and in the 16th century changed the spelling accordingly. In fact there was no ‘s’ in isle in the Middle Ages either: it was spelled ile, as it was in French at the time of its adoption. In the 15th century both French and English people connected the word—this time correctly—with Latin insula, and added the ‘s’. See also insular, peninsula. The English poet and preacher John Donne (1572–1631) memorably expressed the view that the lives and fates of humans are interconnected in Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624): ‘No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main;…any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.’ Isolated (mid 18th century) is related to isle, coming from Latin insulatus ‘made into an island’.

Words that rhyme with island

dryland, highland
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There are 2 main definitions of island in English:

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Island 2

Pronunciation: /ˈiːsland/
Icelandic name for Iceland.
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