[mel-uh-nee-zhuh n, -shuh n]
  1. a member of any of the native peoples inhabiting Melanesia.
  2. the Austronesian languages of Melanesia, taken collectively.

Origin of Melanesian

First recorded in 1840–50; Melanesi(a) + -an Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for melanesian

Historical Examples of melanesian

British Dictionary definitions for melanesian


  1. of or relating to Melanesia, its people, or their languages
  1. a native or inhabitant of Melanesia: generally Negroid with frizzy hair and small stature
  2. a group or branch of languages spoken in Melanesia, belonging to the Malayo-Polynesian family
  3. See also Neo-Melanesian
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 melanesian



1840, from Melanesia + -ian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper