A Word A Day : Quarantine

Wednesday, 20th February 2008 : Today's Word is ...


( Noun & Verb )

Pronunciation : kwáwren-teen

Definition : Noun

1. enforced isolation of people or animals that may have been exposed to a contagious or infectious disease, e.g. when entering a country

2. a place in which people or animals spend a period of isolation to prevent the spread of disease

3. the period of time during which people or animals are kept in isolation to prevent the spread of disease

4. enforced isolation, e.g. for social or political reasons, or a period of such isolation

5. a system of measures maintained by governmental authority at ports, frontiers, etc., for preventing the spread of disease

6. a period, originally 40 days, of detention or isolation imposed upon ships, persons, animals, or plants on arrival at a port or place, when suspected of carrying some infectious or contagious disease

Definition : Transitive Verb

1. to isolate a person or animal that may have been exposed to a contagious or infectious disease in order to prevent the possible spread of that disease

2. to isolate or detain somebody, e.g. for social or political reasons

3. to isolate somebody

4. to detain somebody

Past and past participle : quarantined
Present participle : quarantining
3rd person present singular : quarantines


Early 17th century - Via Italian quarantina - Latin quadraginta - forty - because ships suspected of carrying disease were refused entrance to port for 40 days


( NOUN ) detention, lazaretto, seclusion, segregation, separation, sequestration, isolation, confinement, solitary, cordon, sanitaire

( VERB ) block off, close off, confine, cordon, detach, insulate, keep apart, remove, restrict, seal off, seclude, segregate, separate, sequester


( NOUN ) integration, freedom, liberation

( VERB ) integrate, amalgamate

Contextual Examples:

• You may need to quarantine your pet before you bring it into a foreign country.

• They do not quarantine the cars, no matter where they got their passengers from.

• It was therefore a relief when neighbors no longer considered the house in quarantine, and when the chances of seeing Rosamond alone were very much reduced.

Related Words:

quarantinable : Adjective

quarantiner : Noun

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