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[green-luh nd, -land]
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  1. 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 formsGreen·land·er, nounGreen·land·ish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for greenlander

Historical Examples

  • What the Greenlander said is corroborated by what a Kaffir said.

    Myth, Ritual, and Religion, Vol. 1

    Andrew Lang

  • For the same reason the Icelander differs from the Greenlander.

    Man and His Migrations

    R. G. (Robert Gordon) Latham

  • A Greenlander named Aaron once fell sick and had to keep to his bed.

    Eskimo Life

    Fridtjof Nansen

  • From this age onwards, the young Greenlander remains a toiler of the sea.

    Eskimo Life

    Fridtjof Nansen

  • The Greenlander is also very fond of raw seal-skin with the blubber.

    Eskimo Life

    Fridtjof Nansen

British Dictionary definitions for greenlander


  1. a native or inhabitant of Greenland


  1. 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

Word Origin and History for greenlander


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

greenlander in Culture


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


Greenland is the largest island in the world. (Australia is larger but is officially a continent, not an island.)
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.