Definition of Austronesian in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌôstrōˈnēZHən/


Relating to or denoting a family of languages spoken in an area extending from Madagascar in the west to the Pacific islands in the east. Also called Malayo-Polynesian.
Example sentences
  • Today, Austronesian languages are spoken from Madagascar in the west, to Easter Island in the east.
  • Small Austronesian languages are another area of current research.
  • Archaeological evidence supports the commonly held theory that peoples speaking Austronesian languages first came to the islands some 4,000 years ago.


The Austronesian family of languages.
Example sentences
  • He is continuing experiments on the Indo-European issues, and has new work on Austronesian in progress.
  • Some people argue against it, but I think the evidence for Austronesian is very strong.
  • The indigenous languages belong to the Central Oceanic branch of Eastern Austronesian and are divided into eastern and western branches.


From German austronesisch, based on Latin australis 'southern' (see austral) + Greek nēsos 'island'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Aus·tro·ne·sian

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