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[juh-mey-kuh] /dʒəˈmeɪ kə/
an island in the West Indies, S of Cuba. 4413 sq. mi. (11,430 sq. km).
a republic coextensive with this island: formerly a British colony; became independent in 1962, retaining membership in the Commonwealth of Nations.
Capital: Kingston. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Jamaica
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This revived him, and he offered us his canteen, in which was some excellent Jamaica.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Afterwards his master sought to apprehend him and send him off to Jamaica, for sale.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • The second of the West India islands to construct a railroad was Jamaica.

    The Railroad Question William Larrabee
  • You want a ring, the finest gem that can be found on the island of Jamaica.

    Captain Brand of the "Centipede"

    H. A. (Henry Augustus) Wise
  • It was written at Kingston, Jamaica, almost three months ago.

    Keziah Coffin Joseph C. Lincoln
British Dictionary definitions for Jamaica


an island and state in the Caribbean: colonized by the Spanish from 1494 onwards, large numbers of Black slaves being imported; captured by the British in 1655 and established as a colony in 1866; gained full independence in 1962; a member of the Commonwealth. Exports: chiefly bauxite and alumina, sugar, and bananas. Official language: English. Religion: Protestant majority. Currency: Jamaican dollar. Capital: Kingston. Pop: 2 909 714 (2013 est). Area: 10 992 sq km (4244 sq miles)
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 Jamaica

West Indian island, from Taino (Arawakan) xaymaca, said to mean "rich in springs." Columbus when he found it in 1494 named it Santiago, but this did not stick. Related: Jamaican. The Jamaica in New York probably is a Delaware (Algonquian) word meaning "beaver pond" altered by influence of the island name.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Jamaica in Culture

Jamaica definition

Nation in the West Indies, situated south of Cuba and west of Haiti, in the Caribbean Sea. Its capital and largest city is Kingston.

Note: It was the leading world sugar producer in the eighteenth century, when a large slave population grew up around sugar plantations.
Note: A British colony from 1865 to 1962, Jamaica then became completely independent.
Note: The country has a high level of poverty.
Note: Tourism is a major industry.
The 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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