Puerto Rico

[ pwer-tuh ree-koh, pwer-toh, pawr-tuh, pohr-; Spanish pwer-taw ree-kaw ]
/ ˈpwɛr tə ˈri koʊ, ˈpwɛr toʊ, ˈpɔr tə, ˈpoʊr-; Spanish ˈpwɛr tɔ ˈri kɔ /


an island in the central West Indies: a commonwealth associated with the U.S. 3435 sq. mi. (8895 sq. km). Capital: San Juan. Abbreviation: P.R., PR

Formerly Porto Rico.

Related formsPuerto Rican, adjective, noun

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

British Dictionary definitions for puerto rico

Puerto Rico

/ (ˈpwɜːtəʊ ˈriːkəʊ, ˈpwɛə-) /


an autonomous commonwealth (in association with the US) occupying the smallest and easternmost of the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean: one of the most densely populated areas in the world; ceded by Spain to the US in 1899. Currency: US dollar. Capital: San Juan. Pop: 3 674 209 (2013 est). Area: 9104 sq km (3515 sq miles)Former name (until 1932): Porto Rico Abbreviation: PR
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 puerto rico

Puerto Rico

Spanish, literally "rich harbor;" Caribbean island, name given in 1493 by Christopher Columbus to the large bay on the north side of the island; he called the island itself San Juan. Over time the name of the bay became the name of the island and the name of the island was taken by the town that grew up at the bay. Often spelled Porto Rico in 19c.; name officially changed 1932.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for puerto rico

Puerto Rico

[ (pwer-tuh, pawr-tuh ree-koh) ]

Island in the Caribbean Sea, southeast of Miami, Florida. Its capital and largest city is San Juan.


Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States. Citizens of Puerto Rico are also American citizens but do not vote in federal elections and do not pay federal taxes on their local earnings.

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.