Words related to Melanesia


word-forming element meaning "black," from Greek melano-, combining form of melas (genitive melanos) "black, dark, murky,"probably from a PIE root *melh-"black, of darkish color" (source also of Sanskrit malinah "dirty, stained, black," Lithuanian mėlynas"blue," Latin mulleus "reddish"). 


peninsula south of Thrace, from Greek khersonesos "peninsula," from khersos "dry land" + nēsos "island," also "(flooded) land near a river, alluvial land," which is of uncertain origin; traditionally from PIE root sna- "to swim," but this is now generally rejected. "As words for 'island' differ from language to language, [nēsos] is probably an Aegean loan (note that Lat. insula is also of unclear origin)" [Beekes]. Compare isle.

word-forming element in names of countries, diseases, and flowers, from Latin and Greek -ia, noun ending, in Greek especially used in forming abstract nouns (typically of feminine gender); see -a (1). The classical suffix in its usual evolution (via French -ie) comes to Modern English as -y (as in familia/family, also -logy, -graphy). Compare -cy.

In paraphernalia, Mammalia, regalia, etc. it represents Latin or Greek -a (see -a (2)), plural suffix of nouns in -ium (Latin) or -ion (Greek), with formative or euphonic -i-.
Polynesia (n.)

1758, Latinization of French polynésie, coined 1756 by French writer Charles de Brosses (1709-1777) in "Histoire des navigations aux terres australes, contenant ce que l'on sait des moeurs et des productions des contrées découvertes jusqu'à ce jour" (the word was first used in English in a review of it), coined from Greek polys "many" (from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill") + nēsos "island" (see Chersonese). Related: Polynesian.