Etymology
Advertisement
insular (adj.)
1610s, "of or pertaining to an island," from Late Latin insularis "of or belonging to an island," from Latin insula "island" (see isle). Metaphoric sense "narrow, prejudiced" is from 1775, from notion of being isolated and cut off from intercourse with other nations or people (an image that naturally suggested itself in Great Britain). The earlier adjective in the literal sense was insulan (mid-15c.), from Latin insulanus.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
insularism (n.)
1828, from insular in the figurative sense + -ism.
Related entries & more 
insularity (n.)
1755, "narrowness of feelings," from insular in the metaphoric sense + -ity. Sense of "state of being an island" (from the classical sense) attested from 1784, in reference to explorations of Australia and New Zealand.
Related entries & more 
down (n.2)

"a hill of moderate elevation and more or less rounded outline," Old English dun "height, hill, moor," from Proto-Germanic *dunaz- (source also of Middle Dutch dunen "sandy hill," Dutch duin), "probably a pre-insular loan-word from Celtic" [Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names], in other words, borrowed at a very early period, before the Anglo-Saxon migration, perhaps from PIE root *dheue- "to close, finish, come full circle."

The more general meaning "elevated rolling grassland; high, rolling region not covered by forest" is from c. 1400. Specifically of certain natural pastureland districts of south and southeast England (the Downs) by mid-15c.

The non-English Germanic words tend to mean "dune, sand bank" (see dune), while the Celtic cognates tend to mean "hill, citadel" (compare Old Irish dun "hill, hill fort;" Welsh din "fortress, hill fort;" and second element in place names London, Verdun, etc.). German Düne, French dune, Italian, Spanish duna are said to be loan-words from Dutch.

Related entries & more