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[ahn-tuh-nah-nuh-ree-voh, an-tuh-nan-uh-]
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  1. a city in and the capital of Madagascar, in the central part.
Formerly Tananarive.


  1. an island republic in the Indian Ocean, about 240 miles (385 km) off the SE coast of Africa: formerly a French colony; gained independence 1960. 227,800 sq. mi. (590,000 sq. km). Capital: Antananarivo.
Related formsMad·a·gas·can, noun, adjectivepro-Mad·a·gas·can, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for antananarivo

Historical Examples

  • She ordered the captives to be chained and sent off at once to Antananarivo.

    The Fugitives

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • They have built a magnificent cathedral, which is the glory and pride of Antananarivo.

    Shadow and Light

    Mifflin Wistar Gibbs

  • She was told that, at Antananarivo, about three hundred people were killed by lightning every year.

  • Madame Pfeiffer, and the other six Europeans then in Antananarivo, were ordered to quit the capital immediately.

  • Their capital city of Antananarivo, in the center of the island, is a well-built city of over 100,000 inhabitants.

British Dictionary definitions for antananarivo


  1. the capital of Madagascar, on the central plateau: founded in the 17th century by a Hova chief; university (1961). Pop: 1 808 000 (2005 est)Former name: Tananarive


  1. an island republic in the Indian Ocean, off the E coast of Africa: made a French protectorate in 1895; became autonomous in 1958 and fully independent in 1960; contains unique flora and fauna. Languages: Malagasy and French. Religions: animist and Christian. Currency: franc. Capital: Antananarivo. Pop: 22 599 098 (2013 est). Area: 587 041 sq km (266 657 sq miles)Official name (since 1975): Democratic Republic of Madagascar Former name (1958–75): Malagasy Republic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for antananarivo


large island off the east coast of 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

antananarivo in Culture



Island republic in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. Its capital and largest city is Antananarivo.


The island of Madagascar is the fourth largest in the world.


Madagascar was under French control from the late nineteenth century until 1960, when it gained full independence. Its culture mixes European, African, and South Asian influences.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.