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proper noun 
  1. A country in Oceania. Official name: Commonwealth of Australia.
    • 1693: translation of a French novel by Jacques Sadeur (believed to be a pen name of w:Gabriel de Foigny, Gabriel de Foigny) titled Les Aventures de Jacques Sadeur dans la Découverte et le Voiage de la Terre Australe published 1692, translation published in London in 1693. Quoted in The Australian Language by Sidney J. Baker, second edition, 1966, chapter XIX, section 1, pages 388-9.
    • : This is all that I can have a certain knowledge of as to that side of ...
    • 1814, w:Matthew Flinders, Matthew Flinders, A Voyage to Terra Australis, volume 1 (http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/12929 at Project Gutenberg)
    • : Had I permitted myself any innovation upon the original term, it would have been to convert it into AUSTRALIA; as being more agreeable to the ear, and an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth.
      1. The continent of Australia. The Commonwealth of Australia covers a number of remote outlying island territories which are not considered part of the continent. Many consider the Commonwealth of Australia to cover the entire continent. However New Guinea and the intervening islands are also on the Australian tectonic plate and are thus geologically considered part of the continent.
Translations: 
  • Dutch: Australií«(nl)
  • French: Australie(fr)f
  • German: Australien(de)
  • Italian: Australia(it)f
  • Spanish: Australia(es)f
Etymology: First attested 16th century, from (term, , terraLatin, terra australis, austrÄlis incognita, incÅgnita, unknown southern land), from auster ("the south wind"). Used also in 1693 (quotation below). Popularised by w:Matthew Flinders, Matthew Flinders in 1814 (quotation below).See also Terra Australis.


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