An archipelago from above.


From Italian arcipelago, formed on the basis of Ancient Greek ἀρχι- (arkhi-, main) + πέλαγος (pélagos, sea), a designation for the Aegean Sea. The Aegean Sea is a sea with many islands; the term Arcipelago, originally a proper noun referring to the Aegean Sea, was first generalized to a common noun for any sea with many islands, and then to the islands in such a sea.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ɑːkɪˈpɛləɡəʊ/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌɑɹkɪˈpɛləˌɡoʊ/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: ar‧chi‧pe‧la‧go


archipelago (plural archipelagos or archipelagoes)

  1. (now rare) The Aegean Sea.
    • 1791, Charlotte Smith, Celestina, Broadview 2004, p. 413:
      [I]n his imagination he had settled his route, through Holland and France to Sicily, which he had long wished to see, and from thence to the Archipelago [] .
  2. (collective) A group of islands.
  3. (by extension) Something scattered around like an archipelago.
    The Gulag Archipelago

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archipelago m (plural archipelagos)

  1. Obsolete spelling of arquipélago (used in Portugal until September 1911 and in Brazil until the 1940s).