island in the western Pacific, by 1896, of unknown origin; formerly known as Pleasant Island (1798). Related: Nauruan (1918).
large island lying to the east of and near Africa, from Mogadishu, the name of the city in Somalia, due to an error by Marco Polo in reading Arabic, whereby he thought the name was that of the island. There is no indigenous name for the whole island. Related: Madagascan; Madagascarian; Madagascarene.
island in the Greater Antilles group of the West Indies, Spanish, literally "rich harbor;" see port (n.1) + rich (adj.). The name was given in 1493 by Christopher Columbus to the large bay on the north side of the island; he called the island itself San Juan. Over time the name of the bay became the name of the island and the name of the island was taken by the town that grew up at the bay. Often spelled Porto Rico in 19c.; the current spelling was made official in 1932.
"piece of land almost surrounded by water but connected with a mainland by a neck or isthmus," 1530s, from Latin paeninsula "a peninsula," literally "almost an island," from pæne "nearly, almost, practically," which is of uncertain origin, + insula "island" (see isle). In 16c. sometimes Englished as demie island.