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[green-luh nd, -land] /ˈgrin lənd, -ˌlænd/
a self-governing island belonging to Denmark, located NE of North America: the largest island in the world. About 844,000 sq. mi. (2,186,000 sq. km); about 700,000 sq. mi. (1,800,000 sq. km) icecapped.
Capital: Godthåb.
Related forms
Greenlander, noun
Greenlandish, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Greenland
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It reminded us of Mrs. Peary's description of native smells in Greenland.

    A Woman who went to Alaska May Kellogg Sullivan
  • If you don't I guess the first land we'll touch will be Greenland.

    The Northern Iron George A. Birmingham
  • According to Pettersson, Greenland furnishes an example of this.

    Climatic Changes Ellsworth Huntington
  • I can be no worse off in Greenland, and perhaps I shall grow rich there.

    Viking Tales Jennie Hall
  • Greenland is a country where every object is strikingly singular, or highly magnificent.

British Dictionary definitions for Greenland


a large island, lying mostly within the Arctic Circle off the NE coast of North America: first settled by Icelanders in 986; resettled by Danes from 1721 onwards; integral part of Denmark (1953–79); granted internal autonomy 1979; mostly covered by an icecap up to 3300 m (11 000 ft) thick, with ice-free coastal strips and coastal mountains; the population is largely Inuit, with a European minority; fishing, hunting, and mining. Capital: Nuuk (Godthåb). Pop: 57 714 (2013 est). Area: 175 600 sq km (840 000 sq miles) Danish name Grønland Greenlandic name Kalaallit Nunaat
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
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Word Origin and History for Greenland

Old Norse Groenland, so named by its discoverer (986 C.E.) because "it would induce settlers to go there, if the land had a good name":

Hann gaf nafn landinu ok kallaði Groenland, ok kvað menn þat myndu fysa þangat farar, at landit ætti nafn gott. [Islendingabok, 1122-1133]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Greenland in Culture

Greenland definition

Island lying largely within the Arctic Circle; owned by Denmark but governed locally since 1978. Its native name is Kaballit Nunaat.

Note: Greenland is the largest island in the world. (Australia is larger but is officially a continent, not an island.)
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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