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[in-suh-leyt, ins-yuh-] /ˈɪn səˌleɪt, ˈɪns yə-/
verb (used with object), insulated, insulating.
to cover, line, or separate with a material that prevents or reduces the passage, transfer, or leakage of heat, electricity, or sound:
to insulate an electric wire with a rubber sheath; to insulate a coat with down.
to place in an isolated situation or condition; segregate.
1530-40; < Latin insulātus made into an island. See insula, -ate1
Related forms
noninsulating, adjective
preinsulate, verb (used with object), preinsulated, preinsulating.
reinsulate, verb (used with object), reinsulated, reinsulating.
superinsulated, adjective
uninsulated, adjective
well-insulated, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for insulating
  • Everyone slides sound-insulating headphones over their ears as the car's engine abruptly belches to life.
  • It is lack of blood flow through the adipose tissues that provides a substantial portion of its insulating capacity.
  • Some neurons are wrapped in an insulating material known as myelin.
  • Any changes to these insulating layers can bring melting.
  • Households may, it seems, be insulating themselves from dearer petrol.
  • Its researchers have turned them into a type of cell that produces the insulating sheath around a nerve cell.
  • The interface between the two materials can be switched from insulating to conducting by applying a voltage across the interface.
  • There are solutions to this problem such as insulating pipes or using chemicals to block hydrate and wax formation.
  • Green-collar jobs include manufacturing solar panels, insulating green homes, servicing wind turbines.
  • At the same time, it may have served as an insulating blanket to raise nighttime highs.
British Dictionary definitions for insulating


verb (transitive)
to prevent or reduce the transmission of electricity, heat, or sound to or from (a body, device, or region) by surrounding with a nonconducting material
to isolate or detach
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin insulātus: made into an island
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for insulating



1530s, "make into an island," from Latin insulatus, from insula (see insular). Sense of "cause a person or thing to be detached from surroundings" is from 1785. Electrical/chemical sense of "block from electricity or heat" is from 1742. Related: Insulated; insulating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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