noun, plural archipelagos, archipelagoes.
a large group or chain of islands: the Malay Archipelago.
any large body of water with many islands.
the Archipelago, the Aegean Sea.

1495–1505; alteration (archi- for arci-) of Italian arcipelago, alteration of Egeopelago the Aegean Sea < Greek Aigaîon pélagos

archipelagic [ahr-kuh-puh-laj-ik] , archipelagian [ahr-kuh-puh-ley-jee-uhn, -juhn] , adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
archipelago (ˌɑːkɪˈpɛlɪˌɡəʊ)
n , pl -gos, -goes
1.  a group of islands
2.  a sea studded with islands
[C16 (meaning: the Aegean Sea): from Italian arcipelago, literally: the chief sea (perhaps originally a mistranslation of Greek Aigaion pelagos the Aegean Sea), from archi- + pelago sea, from Latin pelagus, from Greek pelagos]

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

c.1500, from It. arcipelago "the Aegean Sea" (13c.), from Gk. arkhipelagos, from arkhi- "chief" (see archon) + pelagos "sea." Aegean Sea being full of island chains, the meaning was extended in It. to "any sea studded with islands." Etymologists, noting the absence of arkhipelagos
in ancient or Med.Gk. (the modern word in Gk. is borrowed from It.) believe it is an It. mistake for Aigaion pelagos "Aegean Sea" (M.L. Egeopelagus), or influenced by that name.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
archipelago   (är'kə-pěl'ə-gō')  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A large group of islands.

  2. A sea, such as the Aegean, or an area in a sea containing a large number of scattered islands.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
archipelago [(ahr-kuh-pel-uh-goh)]

A group of islands near one another.

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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