\ ˈkē, ˈkā \

Definition of cay

: a low island or reef of sand or coral

Examples of cay in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

While the Bahamas is comprised of over 700 islands and cays in total, Nassau and Paradise Island alone are enough to fill an upscale itinerary for both the stationary and the adventurous. Céline Bossart, Town & Country, "The Complete Travel Guide to Nassau and Paradise Island in the Bahamas," 30 Nov. 2017 Sandy cays are extremely sensitive to sea level rise; a few extra inches of water can increase erosion and ultimately doom an island. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "Is This the Most Crowded Island in the World? (And Why That Question Matters)," 20 Feb. 2018 Actually, both Paul and Ringo seemed to go home rather unfazed by their little vay-cay in the Inner Light. Morgan Enos, Billboard, "HariSongs Label Debuts: 7 Great Moments When George Harrison Collided With Indian Music," 27 Apr. 2018 Another, more ominous, revelation of the navigational chart is that Caye de l’Est used to be one of many sandy cays in the Baie des Cayes, the body of water that runs between Île-à-Vache and mainland Haiti. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "Is This the Most Crowded Island in the World? (And Why That Question Matters)," 20 Feb. 2018 More than a single island, the Bahamas is an archipelago of 700 islands, cays and islets, covering 760 miles from northwest to southeast. Mark Rogers, USA TODAY, "Honeymoon guide: Romantic resorts in the Bahamas," 9 Mar. 2018 Some 200,000 turtles lay their eggs at the beaches of Raine Island and nearby cays. Ben Guarino, Washington Post, "Climate change is turning 99 percent of these baby sea turtles female," 8 Jan. 2018 And what about sea level rise, and the fate of most of the other sandy cays in the Canal de l’Est? Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "Is This the Most Crowded Island in the World? (And Why That Question Matters)," 20 Feb. 2018 The other populated territories are the U.S. Virgin Islands — which include St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix and 50 smaller islands and cays — American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Jacqueline Charles And Mimi Whitefield, miamiherald, "Neither states nor nations, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands face rocky storm recovery," 27 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cay.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of cay

1707, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cay

Spanish cayo — more at key

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cay

Dictionary Entries near cay








Statistics for cay

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cay

The first known use of cay was in 1707

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cay



English Language Learners Definition of cay

: a low island made of sand or coral


\ ˈkē, ˈkā\

Kids Definition of cay

More from Merriam-Webster on cay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cay Encyclopedia article about cay

Comments on cay

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


to gather or build up little by little

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!