Definition of makatea in US English:

makatea

noun

Geology
  • The raised terrace of coralline limestone typically surrounding South Pacific islands; the annular raised rim of a Pacific island formed by the uplifting of an atoll so that the lagoon is lost.

Origin

Early 20th century; earliest use found in Transactions of the New Zealand Institute. From Tuamotuan makatea, a geological feature of the type described below (also the name of an island ( Makatea) in the central south Pacific (Tuamotu Archipelago) surrounded by a feature of this type); compare Rarotongan makatea (with the same meaning), Marquesan makatea to froth, foam, whiten.