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[mad-uh-gas-ker] /ˌmæd əˈgæs kər/
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.
Formerly Malagasy Republic.
Related forms
Madagascan, noun, adjective
pro-Madagascan, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for Madagascar


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
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Word Origin and History for Madagascar

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
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Madagascar in Culture
Madagascar [(mad-uh-gas-kuhr)]

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

Note: The island of Madagascar is the fourth largest in the world.
Note: 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 Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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