Aus·​tro·​ne·​sian ˌȯ-strə-ˈnē-zhən How to pronounce Austronesian (audio)
: of, relating to, or constituting a family of languages spoken in the area extending from Madagascar eastward through the Malay Peninsula and Archipelago to Hawaii and Easter Island and including practically all the native languages of the Pacific islands with the exception of the Australian and Papuan languages

Examples of Austronesian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Other musical devices on stage on Saturday will represent the rich Austronesian history of seafaring, when early islanders took instruments with them in outrigger canoes for the long journey following the currents from Taiwan to the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Micronesia. The Arizona Republic, 7 Feb. 2024 In late November, experts discovered that Pingtan Island was home to Austronesian people, also called Malayo-Polynesian, around 3,000 to 7,500 years ago. Stepheny Price, Fox News, 28 Dec. 2023 The language of Madagascar belongs to yet another, non-African category, the Austronesian language family. Jared Diamond, Discover Magazine, 17 Apr. 2023 They are believed to be associated with the diaspora of Austronesian speaking peoples. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 23 Aug. 2023 The Negritos of Malaysia are somewhat different, but note that one of the populations exhibits Austro-Asiatic, but not Austronesian, admixture. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 18 July 2011

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Austronesian.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Austronesia, islands of the southern Pacific

First Known Use

1900, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Austronesian was in 1900

Dictionary Entries Near Austronesian

Cite this Entry

“Austronesian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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