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Africa

[ af-ri-kuh ]
/ ˈæf rɪ kə /
|

noun

a continent S of Europe and between the Atlantic and Indian oceans. About 11,700,000 sq. mi. (30,303,000 sq. km).

adjective

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for africa

Africa

/ (ˈæfrɪkə) /

noun

the second largest of the continents, on the Mediterranean in the north, the Atlantic in the west, and the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean in the east. The Sahara desert divides the continent unequally into North Africa (an early centre of civilization, in close contact with Europe and W Asia, now inhabited chiefly by Arabs) and Africa south of the Sahara (relatively isolated from the rest of the world until the 19th century and inhabited chiefly by Negroid peoples). It was colonized mainly in the 18th and 19th centuries by Europeans and now comprises independent nations. The largest lake is Lake Victoria and the chief rivers are the Nile, Niger, Congo, and Zambezi. Pop: 887 964 000 (2005 est). Area: about 30 300 000 sq km (11 700 000 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

Word Origin and History for africa

Africa


Latin Africa (terra) "African land, Libya, the Carthaginian territory," fem. of Africus, from Afer "an African." Originally only in reference to the region around modern Tunisia, it gradually was extended to the whole continent. Derivation from Arabic afar "dust, earth" is tempting, but the early date seems to argue against it. The Middle English word was Affrike.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for africa

Africa


The second-largest continent, after Asia; located south of Europe and bordered to the west by the Atlantic Ocean and to the east by the Indian Ocean.

Note

Africa has been the home of great civilizations, particularly in Egypt (see also Egypt), along the Mediterranean Sea. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, European nations colonized much of the continent (see colonialism). In the twentieth century, the colonies became independent countries.

Note

Africa south of the Sahara is sometimes called sub-Saharan Africa.

Note

Sub-Saharan Africa has been hit especially hard by HIV/AIDS, drastically decreasing the life expectancy of much of the population.
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.