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Meaning of quarantine

quar•an•tine

Pronunciation: (kwôr'un-tēn", kwor'-, kwôr"un-tēn', kwor"-), [key]
— n., v., -tined, -tin•ing.
—n.
  1. a strict isolation imposed to prevent the spread of disease.
  2. 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.
  3. a system of measures maintained by governmental authority at ports, frontiers, etc., for preventing the spread of disease.
  4. the branch of the governmental service concerned with such measures.
  5. a place or station at which such measures are carried out, as a special port or dock where ships are detained.
  6. the detention or isolation enforced.
  7. the place, esp. a hospital, where people are detained.
  8. a period of 40 days.
  9. social, political, or economic isolation imposed as a punishment, as in ostracizing an individual or enforcing sanctions against a foreign state.
—v.t.
  1. to put in or subject to quarantine.
  2. to exclude, detain, or isolate for political, social, or hygienic reasons.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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