from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of or relating to Melanesia or its peoples, languages, or cultures.
  • noun A member of any of the indigenous peoples of Melanesia.
  • noun A subfamily of the Austronesian languages that includes the languages of Melanesia.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Of or belonging to Melanesia or a race inhabiting it.
  • noun A native of Melanesia, a collection of islands in the western part of the Pacific, including New Caledonia, the Fiji Islands, Solomon Islands, New Hebrides, New Britain, etc. (some geographers include Papua and extend the term to comprise some of the lesser islands of the Malay archipelago); a member of one of the black or dark-brown races inhabiting the Melanesian islands.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to Melanesia.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Of or relating to Melanesia.
  • proper noun A Melanesian person.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective of or relating to Melanesia or its people or culture


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word Melanesian.


  • The average Hottentot, or the average Melanesian, is pretty close to being on a par with the average white man.


  • The average Hottentot, or the average Melanesian, is pretty close to being on a par with the average white man.

    The Little Lady of the Big House, by Jack London 1916

  • And for years we know no instance of a baptized Melanesian throwing aside his clothing when taking his holiday at home.

    Life of John Coleridge Patteson Yonge, Charlotte M 1873

  • Europeans but with one another, and I believe that this has often been the mechanism in the past; that, for instance, the introduction of what we now call the Melanesian structure of language was due to the fact that the language of an immigrant people who settled in a region of great linguistic diversity came to be used as a _lingua franca_, and thus gradually became the basis of the languages of the whole people.

    Introduction to the Science of Sociology Robert Ezra Park 1926

  • Yes, like the North American Indian, who was a far nobler type than the Melanesian.

    Chapter 8 2010

  • In his small way he had been a Melanesian Napoleon.

    CHAPTER XI 2010

  • I remember being transfixed by the blueness of the Melanesian reef water, which, until you see it for yourself, is impossible fully to appreciate: a blue of such crystalline clarity, luminosity, and depth, that it seems to be something more akin to liquid glass than ordinary salt water.

    Archive 2009-01-01 2009

  • That there has been a slight Melanesian drift in the period of the northwest monsoon, is also evident.

    MAUKI 2010

  • Most have Melanesian heritage, while about a third of the population are descendants of Indian laborers brought to work on colonial sugar plantations by the British in the 19th century.

    Australia Urged to Rethink Fiji Ties 2011

  • The problem does not occur if one is writing in, say, Melanesian Pidgin, where rather few words are at your disposal and most of them are pithy in the extreme.

    Block That Adjective! 2010


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.