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Related to Melanesoid: History of Melanesia


A division of Oceania in the southwest Pacific Ocean comprising the islands northeast of Australia and south of the equator. It includes the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, the Bismarck Archipelago, various other island groups, and sometimes New Guinea.


(Placename) one of the three divisions of islands in the Pacific (the others being Micronesia and Polynesia); the SW division of Oceania: includes Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the Louisiade, Solomon, Santa Cruz, and Loyalty Islands, which all lie northeast of Australia
[C19: from Greek melas black + nēsos island; with reference to the dark skins of the inhabitants; on the model of Polynesia]


(ˌmɛl əˈni ʒə, -ʃə)

one of the three principal divisions of Oceania, comprising the island groups in the S Pacific NE of Australia.
Mel`a•ne′sian, adj., n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Melanesia - the islands in the southwestern part of OceaniaMelanesia - the islands in the southwestern part of Oceania
cargo cult - (Melanesia) the followers of one of several millenarian cults that believe salvation will come in the form of wealth (`cargo') brought by westerners; some ascribe divine attributes to westerners on first contact (especially to missionaries)
Fiji Islands, Fijis - a group of more than 800 islands (100 inhabited) in the southwestern Pacific; larger islands (Viti Levu and Vanua Levu) are of volcanic origin surrounded by coral reefs; smaller islands are coral
Oceania, Oceanica - a large group of islands in the south Pacific including Melanesia and Micronesia and Polynesia (and sometimes Australasia and the Malay Archipelago)
Austronesia - islands of central and South Pacific (Indonesia and Melanesia and Micronesia and Polynesia)
Bismarck Archipelago - a group of islands in the southwestern Pacific to the northeast of New Guinea; part of Papua New Guinea
New Caledonia - an island to the to the east of Australia and to the north of New Zealand
Solomons, Solomon Islands - the northernmost islands are part of Papua New Guinea; the remainder form an independent state within the British Commonwealth
New Hebrides, Republic of Vanuatu, Vanuatu - a volcanic island republic in Melanesia; independent since 1980
References in periodicals archive ?
K'un-lun" is the term by which the Chinese referred to Melanesoid peoples; perhaps the operculum used for incense resembled a black human ear?