[ mel-uh-nee-zhuh, -shuh ]

  1. one of the three principal divisions of Oceania, comprising the island groups in the South Pacific northeast of Australia.

Words Nearby Melanesia Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use Melanesia in a sentence

  • This instrument is a genuine product of Melanesia, and was doubtless acquired from this region by the Malayan tribes.

  • Where the bow and arrow exist, as in Melanesia and America, the arrow-ladder is frequently employed for the celestial journey.

  • Why should the bird be found in Polynesia, having skipped all the intermediate islands of Melanesia?

    Voyage of H.M.S. Pandora | Edward Edwards
  • Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia, are the names by which we know them.

    The Pacific Triangle | Sydney Greenbie
  • Precisely the same phenomena meet us, as we are to see, in Melanesia.

British Dictionary definitions for Melanesia


/ (ˌmɛləˈniːzɪə) /

  1. one of the three divisions of islands in the Pacific (the others being Micronesia and Polynesia); the SW division of Oceania: includes Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the Louisiade, Solomon, Santa Cruz, and Loyalty Islands, which all lie northeast of Australia

Origin of Melanesia

C19: from Greek melas black + nēsos island; with reference to the dark skins of the inhabitants; on the model of Polynesia

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