Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

archipelago

play
noun ar·chi·pel·a·go \ˌär-kə-ˈpe-lə-ˌgō, ˌär-chə-\

Simple Definition of archipelago

  • : a group of islands

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of archipelago

plural

archipelagoes

or

archipelagos

  1. 1 :  an expanse of water with many scattered islands

  2. 2 :  a group of islands

  3. 3 :  something resembling an archipelago; especially :  a group or scattering of similar things <an archipelago of small parks within the city>

Did You Know?

The Greeks called it the Aegean Pelagos and the Italians referred to it as Arcipelago (principal sea), but English speakers now call it the Aegean Sea. Numerous islands dot its expanse, and 17th-century English speakers adopted a modified form of its Italian name for any sea with a similar scattering of islands. By the 19th century archipelago had come to refer to the groups of islands themselves, and now it is often used figuratively, as in, for example, "an archipelago of high rises."

Origin and Etymology of archipelago

Archipelago Aegean Sea, from Italian Arcipelago, literally, chief sea, from arci- (from Latin archi-) + Greek pelagos sea — more at plagal


First Known Use: 1589


ARCHIPELAGO Defined for Kids

archipelago

play
noun ar·chi·pel·a·go \ˌär-kə-ˈpe-lə-ˌgō, ˌär-chə-\

Definition of archipelago for Students

plural

archipelagoes

or

archipelagos

  1. :  a group of islands





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up archipelago? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

in the capacity or character of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

fox-in-summer-forest

Which of these is a synonym of inchoate?

experimental formless massive frightening
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ