[pol-uh-nee-zhuh, -shuh] /ˌpɒl əˈni ʒə, -ʃə/

one of the three principal divisions of Oceania, comprising those island groups in the Pacific lying E of Melanesia and Micronesia and extending from the Hawaiian Islands S to New Zealand.
/ˌpɒlɪˈniːʒə; -ʒɪə/
one of the three divisions of islands in the Pacific, the others being Melanesia and Micronesia: includes Samoa, Society, Marquesas, Mangareva, Tuamotu, Cook, and Tubuai Islands, and Tonga

1758, Latinization of French polynésie, coined 1756 by French writer Charles de Brosses (1709-1777) in “Histoire des navigations aux terres australes, contenant ce que l’on sait des moeurs et des productions des contrées découvertes jusqu’à ce jour” (and first in English in a review of it), coined from Greek polys “many” (see poly-) + nesos “island” (see Chersonese). Related: Polynesian.

Group of islands in the central and southern Pacific Ocean, including the islands of the state of Hawaii and the islands of French Polynesia. Tahiti and Samoa are in Polynesia, which means “many islands.”


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