Definitions

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

  • An island of Chile in the southern Pacific Ocean about 3,700 km (2,300 mi) west of the mainland. Inhabited by Polynesians since the fifth century AD and encountered by Dutch explorers on Easter Day, 1722, the island is famous for its colossal heads carved from volcanic rock. These ancient remains are of uncertain age but are believed to date from the period from roughly 1000 to 1600.

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

  • proper noun An island in the south Pacific, belonging to Chile famous for its moai monuments.

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

The name "Easter Island" was given by the island's first recorded European visitor, the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who encountered it on Easter Sunday 1722. Roggeveen named it Paasch-Eyland (18th century Dutch for "Easter Island"). The island's official Spanish name, Isla de Pascua, also means "Easter Island".

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