Prairie Islands: Isolating Together

Wednesday Word of the Week from SREDA’s resident word nerd, Catherine Hynes

In this unusual time, I thought I would share a few interesting linguistic facts, having looked into the etymology of pandemic-related words and found that there are some beautiful images and stories associated with them. For this week, our word is Isolated.

Photo source:

Isolated comes to us from Latin, where the word insula means “island.” From there, Latin evolved to create a word that means “made into an island” – insulatus. That word then passed through Italian (isolato) and French (isolé) before travelling over to England in the mid-18th century, where it meant what it now means today.

So while we are all social distancing/isolating/perhaps even quarantined, think of this: we are making ourselves into islands. Islands with shorelines, biomes.

And more than that, a group of islands is an archipelago, which geologically is often the result of a volcanic eruption that makes multiple islands out of a single event, a single volume of land mass that peeks above the water.

While we are apart (as a society and as teams and families), we are actually much more connected – beneath the water – than we may seem.