Definition of Melanesian in US English:



  • Relating to Melanesia, its peoples, or their languages.

    • ‘It is only in the Melanesian countries of the Pacific that people live so deep in the interior, living from the land.’
    • ‘These comparative histories will inform some comments about notions of tradition and Melanesian experience of Christianity.’
    • ‘Australia not only has a halo of Melanesian nations to its immediate North but part of Melanesia is actually in Australia (the Torres Strait Islands).’
    • ‘Nonetheless, I consider this book as a major contribution to Melanesian ethnography and maritime anthropology and recommend it highly to anyone interested in these fields.’
    • ‘West New Guinea, due to its distinct Melanesian population, was retained as a colony by the Dutch and during the 1950s, the Dutch government prepared the territory for independence.’
    • ‘And this gives some insight into the ways of Melanesian people.’
    • ‘Leo Marai, of Papua New Guinea, will share case examples of how consensus was used in Melanesian communities to solve problems.’
    • ‘This book is an important contribution to Melanesian ethnography and anthropology.’
    • ‘This is reflected in the language of scholarship: Melanesian myth and Caledonian history.’
    • ‘Therefore, kastom is often the object of fierce political debate in Melanesian societies as it is linked with various interests pertaining to status, political power and resource ownership.’
    • ‘The bungalows are so woven, it feels a bit like being inside an upended basket - snug and very Melanesian in style.’
    • ‘Fears of losing their Melanesian identity and of their ethnic group disappearing permeated the first meeting of Papuans living outside their province in Jakarta over the weekend.’
    • ‘The figurative art, in addition to portraying a rich variety of Melanesian subjects contains many motifs that are easily distinguishable as representing Europeans and their various attributes.’
    • ‘So, in accordance with the broad trend in recent Pacific scholarship, the essays in this collection see Christianity as a vital, indigenous part of the lived reality of contemporary Melanesian women.’
    • ‘Marilyn Strathern has focused her general model of Melanesian personhood and agency principally on gender through considerations of kinship relations, economic exchange, and interpersonal power relations.’
    • ‘Both performances drew heavily on Melanesian sounds - interspersed with high energy chanting, drumming and dancing.’
    • ‘As an anthropologist, however, Brunton's first research was a library-based study of Melanesian cargo cults and his doctoral thesis concerned kava drinking in a restricted location in far northern Australia.’
    • ‘Originally wholly Melanesian, the population became multi-ethnic through colonialism, especially the importing of plantation labourers from the Pacific islands and India.’
    • ‘As in many other stories associated with the Melanesian millennium and with so-called ‘cargo cults’, the ancestors are portrayed as having returned in the person of the Americans.’
    • ‘Masnick refers to Melanesian cargo cults as the actions and beliefs of people who were ‘a bit confused’ and who ‘never understood what was really happening.’’


  • 1A native or inhabitant of any of the islands of Melanesia.

    • ‘The first settlers on the islands were probably Melanesians who arrived in about 1500 BC.’
    • ‘The island populations of the Pacific Ocean have historically been divided, on the basis of geography and culture, into Polynesians, Micronesians, and Melanesians.’
    • ‘For criminal affairs concerning Melanesians, courts are aided by ‘customary assessors,’ Kanak men and women who explain their countrymen's behavior.’
    • ‘The native inhabitants of Melanesia, called Melanesians, are characteristically dark-skinned with frizzy hair.’
    • ‘Now a multicultural nation, the forebears of Fiji's 352,000 dark-skinned natives - known as Melanesians - sailed in canoes from Africa before 2000 B.C.E.’
    • ‘At the same time, other Pacific Island peoples - Melanesians and Aboriginals - independently developed their own music and dance forms.’
    • ‘For Melanesians, ‘if they can trace a connection or recite a name then that relationship is part of what ‘ownership’ means.’’
    • ‘A small number of people of mixed descent are descendants of Samoans and European, Chinese, Melanesians, and other Polynesians who settled in the country in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.’
    • ‘The tribe, known as the ‘salt-water people’, lived on a tiny, artificial island built over five centuries ago by resourceful Melanesians to escape the malaria-infested jungles of the principal island of Malaita.’
    • ‘The ‘indigenous inhabitants' of Papua are Melanesians, different from most Indonesians.’
    • ‘The Ni-Vanuatu people in the outer islands are pure Melanesian, while a blend of Melanesians, Caucasian expats, Polynesians, Chinese and Vietnamese can be seen in the street cafes and chic boutiques of Port Vila.’
    • ‘The remainder of this paper focuses squarely on the theme of women's groupings which I have approached obliquely via critique of several entrenched stereotypes about Melanesians generally and women in particular.’
    • ‘Before Cook's arrival, movement between islands of the country was regular and often involved people from other Melanesian and Polynesian islands.’
    • ‘In 1825, trader Peter Dillon's discovery of sandalwood on the island of Erromango began a rush that ended in 1830 after a clash between immigrant Polynesian workers and indigenous Melanesians.’
    • ‘There was massive immigration from other Pacific islands and of pieds-noirs, so that the European or Caldoche population outstripped the indigenous Melanesians, reduced to 42 per cent of the population in 1976.’
    • ‘Its native people are dark-skinned, curly-haired Melanesians.’
    • ‘The interanimation of contexts of display, movement and utterance will be one dynamic factor in the ongoing changing lives of Melanesians and their significant others.’
    • ‘Most Melanesians would prefer to be able to pick and choose from modernity and the global in locally meaningful ways in order to improve the quality of their lives without losing valued existing aspects.’
    • ‘However, for Melanesians, few of whom have learnt English as their first language, the text in this book would be, in some places, unnecessarily impenetrable.’
    • ‘The majority of the residents of the Northern Province live in villages, and nearly all these villagers are Kanak, New Caledonian Melanesians.’
  • 2Any of the languages of Melanesia, mostly Austronesian languages related to Malay but also including Neo-Melanesian (or Tok Pisin), an English-based pidgin.

    • ‘West Papua shares a history of Dutch colonialism with Indonesia, but, like the Timorese, its indigenous people are Melanesian and mostly Christian.’
    • ‘Fijians are among the groups categorized as Melanesian.’
    • ‘In this very large family there are more than a thousand languages - including Polynesian, Melanesian, and Micronesian languages and others as far north as Formosa, but not the Papuan languages of New Guinea.’
    • ‘On German plantations and wherever individuals speaking different languages met, a pidgin language referred to as Neo-Melanesian or Melanesian Pidgin developed.’