commonwealth of australia

Australia

[aw-streyl-yuh]
noun
1.
a continent SE of Asia, between the Indian and the Pacific oceans. 2,948,366 sq. mi. (7,636,270 sq. km).
2.
a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, consisting of the federated states and territories of Australia and Tasmania. 2,974,581 sq. mi. (7,704,165 sq. km). Capital: Canberra.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
Australia (ɒˈstreɪlɪə)
 
n
a country and the smallest continent, situated between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific: a former British colony, now an independent member of the Commonwealth, constitutional links with Britain formally abolished in 1986; consists chiefly of a low plateau, mostly arid in the west, with the basin of the Murray River and the Great Dividing Range in the east and the Great Barrier Reef off the NE coast. Official language: English. Religion: Christian majority. Currency: dollar. Capital: Canberra. Pop: 19 913 000 (2004 est). Area: 7 682 300 sq km (2 966 150 sq miles)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

Australia
17c., from L. Terra Australis (16c.), from australis "southern," from auster "south wind," metaphorically extended to "south," but based on PIE word for "east" (see aurora), perhaps on false assumption about the orientation of Italy (or perhaps the connection is more ancient,
through the "burning" dawn and the "hot" south wind). Aussie for "Australian" first recorded 1917.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

Australia definition


Nation occupying the whole of Australia, the smallest continent, between the Indian Ocean and the southwest Pacific Ocean. Its capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney.

Note: The first settlements there were penal colonies for British convicts.
Note: Its aboriginal tribes, which still exist today (see aborigines), are thought to have migrated from Southeast Asia twenty thousand years ago.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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