large peninsula in northwestern North America; purchased by U.S. from Russia, 1867; a state since 1959; the name first was applied 18c. by Russian explorers, from Aleut alaxsxaq, literally "the object toward which the action of the sea is directed" [Bright]. Related: Alaskan. Baked Alaska attested by 1896, so called either for its whiteness or for being cold inside.