Definitions

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

  • noun A large group of islands.
  • noun A sea, such as the Aegean, containing a large number of scattered islands.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun [capitalized] Originally and specifically, the sea which separates Greece from Asia Minor, otherwise called the Ægean sea, studded with a number of small islands. Hence, generally
  • noun Any body of water abounding with islands, or the islands themselves collectively.

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

  • noun The Grecian Archipelago, or Ægean Sea, separating Greece from Asia Minor. It is studded with a vast number of small islands.
  • noun Hence: Any sea or broad sheet of water interspersed with many islands or with a group of islands.

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

  • noun A group of islands.
  • noun Something scattered around like an archipelago.

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

  • noun a group of many islands in a large body of water

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Italian Arcipelago, the Aegean Sea, alteration (influenced by arci-, chief, archi-) of Medieval Latin Ēgēopelagus : Latin Aegaeus, Ēgēus, Aegean (from Greek Aigaios) + Latin pelagus, sea (from Greek pelagos; see plāk- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Italian arcipelago ("Aegean Sea"), from Ancient Greek ἀρχι- (archi, "leading") + πέλαγος (pelagos, "sea").

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