large peninsula in northwestern North America, purchased by U.S. from Russia in 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 is attested by 1896, so called either for its whiteness or for being cold inside.
updated on September 16, 2022