from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- An island group in the western Pacific Ocean east of the Philippines. Guam, the largest island of the group, is independent of the others, which are known formally as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Marianas were discovered by Magellan in 1521 and held by Spain until 1898. They were sold to Germany in 1899 (when Guam was ceded to the United States) and later became a Japanese mandate (1919-1944).
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a chain of coral and volcanic islands in Micronesia (including Guam and the Northern Marianas) halfway between New Guinea and Japan; discovered by Magellan in 1521
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