—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.