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for Monday, 25 March 2019




1.       a person who is physically or spiritually isolated from their times or society.


... my life has been that of an isolato, a shepherd on a mountaintop, situated as far from so-called civilization as possible, and it has made me unnaturally brusque and awkward.

-- Russell Banks, Cloudsplitter, 1998


The rare English noun isolato comes directly from the Italian adjective and noun isolato “isolated; an isolated person.” The Italian word is the past participle of the verb isolare “to shut off, cut off, isolate,” a derivative of the noun isola “isle, island” (there is no Latin verb īnsulāre). Isola is a regular Italian development of Latin īnsula, a noun of unknown etymology, meaning “island, an island as a place of exile, tenement house,” all of which can be pretty bleak. Isolato entered English in the mid-19th century.

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Last updated: 25 March 2019

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