[pat-uh-goh-nee-uh, -gohn-yuh]
  1. a tableland region of southern Argentina.
  2. a region in S South America, in S Argentina and S Chile, extending from the Andes to the Atlantic.
Related formsPat·a·go·ni·an, adjective, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for patagonia


  1. the southernmost region of South America, in Argentina and Chile extending from the Andes to the Atlantic. Area: about 777 000 sq km (300 000 sq miles)
  2. an arid tableland in the southernmost part of Argentina, rising towards the Andes in the west
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 patagonia


South American region, with -ia + Patagon, name given by Europeans to the Tehuelche people who inhabited the coasts of the region, sometimes said to mean literally "large-foot," from Spanish and Portuguese pata "paw, animal foot" (see patten) in reference to the people's llama-skin shoes. But elsewhere said to be from Patagon, name of a dog-headed monster in the prose romance "Amadís de Gaula" (1508) by Garci Ordóñez de Montalvo (which also might have yielded California).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper