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[mey-ley, muh-ley] /ˈmeɪ leɪ, məˈleɪ/
of, relating to, or characteristic of a racially intermixed people who are the dominant population of the Malay Peninsula and adjacent islands.
of or relating to the language or culture of these people.
a member of the Malay people.
an Austronesian language of Malaysia and Singapore, differing from Indonesian only in orthography.
Related forms
non-Malay, adjective, noun
pre-Malay, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Malay
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Not even the most rage-intoxicated Malay could withstand the shock.

  • The native population is mainly of the Malay race, but there are also many Negritos.

    Commercial Geography Jacques W. Redway
  • The capital was then but a small straggling Malay village, consisting of a few nipa-palm houses.

    On the Equator Harry de Windt
  • Chinese and Malay boyhood look on, and listen to the regimental music.

  • The Malay had a moment of hesitation, and Lingard noticed the sunken eyes, the prominent ribs, and the worn-out look of the man.

    The Rescue Joseph Conrad
  • She was dressed for the occasion after the fashion of the Malay warrior.

    In Court and Kampong Hugh Clifford
  • The Malay runs amuck, and such is the British diplomatic style in dealing with us.

British Dictionary definitions for Malay


a member of a people living chiefly in Malaysia and Indonesia who are descendants of Mongoloid immigrants
the language of this people, belonging to the Malayo-Polynesian family
of or relating to the Malays or their language
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
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Word Origin and History for Malay

1590s, from native name Malayu. As an adjective from 1779; earlier adjective form was Malayan (1660s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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