Definition of archipelago in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌärkəˈpeləˌɡō/

noun (plural archipelagos or archipelagoes)

1A group of islands.
Example sentences
  • Within the country, a distinction is made between the capital of Nassau on New Providence Island and the out islands of the archipelago.
  • There are 13 main islands in the archipelago, plus four islets and some 40 outcrops of jagged rocks.
  • No, we live on a chain of islands, an archipelago, not a continent.
1.1A sea or stretch of water containing many islands.
Example sentences
  • Their preferred habitat is the annual sea ice over the continental shelf and inter-island archipelagos that encircle the polar basin.
  • This is a fascinating archipelago at the southern end of the Red Sea.


Early 16th century: from Italian arcipelago, from Greek arkhi- 'chief' + pelagos 'sea'. The word was originally used as a proper name (the Archipelago 'the Aegean Sea'): the generalization of meaning occurred because the Aegean Sea is remarkable for its large numbers of islands.

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