The Meaning of Quarantine: What It Is and How To Use It

Quarantine has been a big buzzword lately. This article details the meaning of quarantine, its usage today, and how to use it.

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Quarantine has become a common word, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re still not sure what this word means, the Word Counter is here to help.

What Does the Word Quarantine Mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary, the word quarantine can be used as a noun or a verb. As a noun, this word refers to a period of time in which people or animals are kept separate from others, often because they may be infected with a disease. As a verb, this refers to the action of separating the people or animals into isolation. Quarantine is three syllables: quar-an-tine.

Quarantine is often used for the prevention of contagious diseases during epidemics like yellow fever, cholera, the plague, smallpox, ebola, diphtheria, leprosy, the Black Death in the Middle Ages, and more. Most recently, the word quarantine has been used to refer to isolation recommendations following COVID-19 infection.

In many countries like the United States, England, and other places in Europe, the federal government and Center for Disease Control provides guidelines for the length of the quarantine recommended to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. 

This is often dependent on whether or not a person has received their COVID-19 vaccines, when their exposure to SARS-COV-2 occurred, and whether they have symptoms. If someone coughs or has shortness of breath, it is possible that they are still contagious. 

These individuals should still quarantine and wear N95 masks around household members and others to stop the spread. Be sure to follow local instructions to prevent the spread of contagious disease and obtain proper medical care.

What Are Translations of Quarantine?

If you plan on traveling to places that have COVID restrictions and quarantine requirements, it is very useful to understand translations of the word quarantine. The Word Counter has provided a list below of many different translations of quarantine. These can be useful if you are traveling or if you are learning a new language. 

  •  French: quarantaine‎ 
  •  Polish: kwarantanna‎ 
  •  Armenian: կարանտին‎
  •  Turkish: karantina‎
  •  Danish: karantæne‎ (common)
  •  Lithuanian: karantinas‎ (masc.)
  •  Malay: kuarantin‎
  •  Esperanto: kvaranteno‎
  •  Czech: karanténa‎ 
  •  Greek: απομόνωση‎, καραντίνα‎ 
  •  Ido: quaranteno‎
  •  Tagalog: kuwarentenas‎, pahiwalay‎
  •  Catalan: quarantena‎ 
  •  Hebrew: הֶסְגֵּר‎, קָרַנְטִינָה‎
  •  Spanish: cuarentena‎
  •  Russian: каранти́н‎ (masc.)
  •  Finnish: karanteeni‎
  •  Indonesian: karantina‎
  •  Slovene: karantena‎ 
  •  Portuguese: quarentena‎ 
  •  Italian: quarantena‎
  •  Mandarin: 檢疫‎, 检疫‎ (jiǎnyì)
  •  Latin: quarantanna‎ 
  •  Japanese: 検疫‎ (けんえき, ken’eki)
  •  German: Quarantäne‎ 
  •  Swedish: karantän‎ (common)
  •  Dutch: quarantaine‎ 

What Is the Origin of the Word Quarantine?

According to Your Dictionary, the word quarantine comes from the Italian quarantena. This is from the Venetian dialect and referred to the quarantine of a ship. 

The original meaning of the word quarantine referred to a 40 day period, since this was the length of a shop quarantine. This comes from the Italian quaranta, meaning forty, stemming from the Latin quadrāgintā and Proto-Indo-European root kwetwer.

How Can the Word Quarantine Be Used in a Sentence?

While you may have heard the word quarantine frequently since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may not know exactly how to use it in a sentence. Using words in a sentence is key to understanding them. 

While memorizing definitions is the first step of learning new words – which can be accomplished with the help of flashcards or quizzes that you make yourself – using words in a sentence is the last step of fully understanding them. 

Take a look at the examples below to help get yourself started:

We had to quarantine in Venice when we became infected with COVID and could not get home to New York for two weeks.

The one-night stand couple had to quarantine together to their dismay when they both tested positive for the flu.

The public health service act and human services department required the infected to be quarantined. 

What Are Synonyms of the Word Quarantine?

There are many different words that a person could choose to use in place of the word quarantine. These words are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning or definition as another word or phrase, and can be used in their place. 

Learning synonyms can help us avoid repeating ourselves in speech or writing. Take a look at this list of synonyms for the word quarantine from Power Thesaurus

  • arrest
  •  be at home
  •  beleaguerment
  •  blockade
  •  cloister
  •  confine
  •  confinement
  •  cordon
  •  cordon sanitaire
  •  curtailment
  •  custody
  •  isolation
  •  keep apart
  •  keep in solitude
  •  keeping in
  •  lazaretto
  •  lockdown
  •  not go out
  •  partition
  •  privacy
  •  protection
  •  put a cordon sanitaire around
  •  quarantining
  •  reclusion
  •  seclude
  •  seclusion
  •  segregate
  •  segregation
  •  separate
  •  separation
  •  sequester
  •  sequestration
  •  set apart
  •  setting apart
  •  shut away
  •  solitude
  •  stay at home
  •  time up the river

What Are Antonyms of the Word Quarantine?

Learning antonyms is another great way to expand your vocabulary. By learning words that mean the opposite of quarantine, you can further drive home the word’s meaning. Reference this list of synonyms provided by Power Thesaurus if you are unsure about a word’s meaning.

  • absolution
  •  act together
  •  action
  •  allow to leave
  •  ally
  •  amalgamate
  •  assimilate
  •  associate
  •  association
  •  attachment
  •  band together
  •  be cured
  •  be healed
  •  be on the mend
  •  be recovered
  •  be restored
  •  complicity
  •  connect
  •  connection
  •  exemption
  •  exoneration
  •  free
  •  freedom
  •  freeing
  •  fuse
  •  get someone back on their feet
  •  get well
  •  hand
  •  immunity
  •  implication
  •  impunity
  •  inclusion
  •  independence
  •  release


Overall, the word quarantine refers to a period in which people or animals are kept separate from others, often because they may be infected with a disease. 


  1. Quarantine synonyms – 461 Words and Phrases for Quarantine | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Quarantine antonyms – 275 Opposites of Quarantine | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Quarantine Meaning | Best 26 Definitions of Quarantine | Your Dictionary 
  4. Quarantine definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary