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Aisle vs. Isle — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on October 13, 2023
An aisle is a passageway between rows, while an isle is a small island or peninsula.
Aisle vs. Isle — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Aisle and Isle


Key Differences

Aisle and Isle are two words that, despite sounding alike, have vastly different meanings. An aisle refers to a passageway between rows, such as those found in supermarkets or theaters. Isle, on the other hand, denotes a small island or peninsula.
In many grocery stores, there are numerous aisles, each filled with different categories of products. Isles, however, conjure images of tropical paradises surrounded by blue waters, often isolated and remote.
Airplanes have aisles that separate the rows of seats, guiding passengers to their assigned places. An isle, in contrast, could be a destination for some of these flights, where travelers seek adventure or relaxation.
A wedding often sees a bride walking down the aisle, symbolizing her journey towards a new phase of life. The word isle might come up in the honeymoon plans if the newlyweds decide on a secluded island getaway.
Churches frequently have aisles that lead to the altar, creating a clear path for processions. Conversely, an isle might be the backdrop of a historic tale involving pirates seeking treasure.

Comparison Chart

Primary Meaning

A passageway between rows or seats.
A small island or peninsula.

Typical Context

Supermarkets, theaters, airplanes.
Geographical locations, travel destinations.

Grammatical Usage


Physical Presence

Man-made, often inside structures.
Natural, surrounded by water.


Shopping, seating, walking.
Land, water, seclusion.

Compare with Definitions


A passageway between rows or seats.
We sat close to the aisle in the theater.


A small island.
The tropical isle was a perfect vacation spot.


A passage in a vehicle like a plane or bus.
She requested an aisle seat for her flight.


A poetic term for an island.
The lonely isle stood amidst the vast ocean.


A walkway between shelves in a store.
The cereals are in the next aisle.


A peninsula or tract of land surrounded by water.
The isle was connected to the mainland by a narrow bridge.


A division in a church.
The cathedral had both a central and side aisles.


An isolated place or situation.
In his despair, he felt like he was on a deserted isle.


A clear path in a structure.
The bride walked gracefully down the aisle.


An island or peninsula, especially a small one
Crusoe's fabled isle
The British Isles


An aisle is, in general, a space for walking with rows of seats on both sides or with rows of seats on one side and a wall on the other. Aisles can be seen in airplanes, certain types of buildings, such as churches, cathedrals, synagogues, meeting halls, parliaments and legislatures, courtrooms, theatres, and in certain types of passenger vehicles.


An island, especially a small one.


A passage between rows of seats in a building such as a church or theatre, an aircraft, or train
The musical had the audience dancing in the aisles


A (small) island, compare with islet.


A part of a church divided laterally from the nave, transept, or choir by a row of columns.


See Aisle.


A passageway between rows of seats, as in an auditorium or an airplane.


An island.
Imperial rule of all the seagirt isles.


A passageway for inside traffic, as in a department store, warehouse, or supermarket.


A spot within another of a different color, as upon the wings of some insects.


A wing of a building, notably in a church separated from the nave proper by piers.


To cause to become an island, or like an island; to surround or encompass; to island.
Isled in sudden seas of light.


A clear path through rows of seating.


A small island


A clear corridor in a supermarket with shelves on both sides containing goods for sale.


A reference to the British Isles.
Ireland is part of the British Isles.


Any path through an otherwise obstructed space.


(transport) Seat in public transport, such as a plane, train or bus, that's beside the aisle.


An idiomatic divide between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, who are said to be on two sides of the aisle.


The path of a wedding procession in a church or other venue; marriage.


A lateral division of a building, separated from the middle part, called the nave, by a row of columns or piers, which support the roof or an upper wall containing windows, called the clearstory wall.


A long narrow passage (as in a cave or woods)


Passageway between seating areas as in an auditorium or passenger vehicle or between areas of shelves of goods as in stores


Part of a church divided laterally from the nave proper by rows of pillars or columns

Common Curiosities

Do "aisle" and "isle" sound the same?

Yes, "aisle" and "isle" are homophones, meaning they sound alike but have different meanings.

Is every isle surrounded by water?

Generally, yes. An isle is an island or peninsula, which means it's surrounded by water on most or all sides.

Can "aisle" be used in a poetic sense?

While "aisle" is mostly practical, creative writers can use any word poetically with the right context.

Do all stores have aisles?

Most stores, especially larger ones, have aisles to organize products and guide shoppers.

Are there any common phrases with "aisle"?

Yes, "walking down the aisle" is a common phrase associated with weddings.

Where might I encounter an aisle?

You can find aisles in supermarkets, theaters, churches, and airplanes.

Can "isle" refer to a large landmass?

Typically, "isle" refers to smaller islands, not large ones like continents.

Is "aisle" always related to indoor spaces?

Mostly, but it can refer to any clear passageway, even outdoors in specific contexts.

And the plural of "isle"?

The plural is "isles."

What's the plural of "aisle"?

The plural is "aisles."

How can I remember the difference between "aisle" and "isle"?

Think of "aisle" as related to walking (like walking in a store) and "isle" as a piece of land in water.

Does every isle have inhabitants?

No, many isles are uninhabited, either due to their size, location, or inhospitable conditions.

Are there famous isles worth mentioning?

Yes, the Isle of Man, the British Isles, and the Isle of Capri are some well-known isles.

Can "isle" be used metaphorically?

Yes, "isle" can represent isolation or a place of refuge in a metaphorical sense.

Can "isle" refer to a landmass inside a body of fresh water?

Yes, an isle can be in any body of water, whether it's freshwater or saltwater.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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