Insolent vs insulate

Insolent and insulate are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation, but have different meanings. We will examine the definitions of insolent and insulate, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Insolent means displaying a lack of respect, being rude, contemptuous or too bold in the face of authority. For instance, a child that sasses or “talks back” to an adult may be considered insolent. A mail room clerk who chides the president of a company for making too much money may be considered insolent. The word insolent carries the connotation of not knowing the inferiority of one’s station in life. The noun form is insolence and the adverb form is insolently. The word insolent is derived from the Latin word insolentem, which means unwonted, unusual, arrogant, beyond what is acceptable.

Insulate means to apply a material or coating that protects something. Often, the word insulate is used to mean to add material to the ceiling, attic, roofs or exterior walls to form a barrier that retards heat flow. In summer, the idea is to preserve the air conditioning being generated inside the building, and keep the heat outside. In winter, the idea is to preserve the heating being generated inside the building, and keep the cold outside. Types of insulation material includes polyurethane, polystyrene, foam insulation, cellulose or other recycled fiber, and fiberglass insulation. Forms of insulating materials and insulation products include rigid foam, blanket, reflective, batts, and loose fill insulation. The effectiveness of insulation materials is judged by its r value. Exposed plumbing and gas pipes are also insulated, to keep them from freezing in the winter. Electrical wires are always insulated with plastic, rubber or ceramic to decrease the chance of a fire. The word insulate is also used figuratively to mean to isolate someone from harm, hurt, or bad influences. Insulate is derived from the Latin word insulatus, meaning to isolate someone or something as if on an island. Insulate is a transitive verb which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are insulates, insulated, insulating, insulation, insulator.


Over the years I’ve asked tough questions at press conferences across the nation without the need to be insolent or disrespectful to the person at the podium. (The Arkansas Democrat Gazette)

A meeting by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad with members of the taxi drivers association here was disrupted for a while when it turned chaotic due to the insolent behaviour of some drivers who shouted and walked out of the room in disagreement with the premier’s view on the GRAB service. (The Borneo Post)

“A blob about the size of this nickel here, getting onto the breast of one of these birds, is gonna immediately stick to the feathers, and compromise their ability to insulate, and the bird will die,” he said. (Global News)

If it’s really cold, you can use them to insulate your car – putting them in the windows helps prevent the cold air from getting in. (The Daily News of Newburyport)

In our technologically advanced culture, we insulate ourselves from nature’s might and only too late discover how weak we are. (The Aberdeen News)

Leave a Comment