An island /ˈaɪlənd/ or isle /ˈaɪl/ is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, skerries, cays or keys. An island in a river or an island in a lake may be called an eyot /ˈaɪ.ət/ (also ait /ˈeɪt/), or holm. A grouping of geographically or geologically related islands is called an archipelago.
An island may still be described as such despite the presence of an artificial land bridge, for example Singapore and its causeway, or the various Dutch delta islands, such as IJsselmonde. Some places may even retain "island" in their names for historical reasons after being connected to a larger landmass by a wide land bridge, such as Coney Island. Conversely, when a piece of land is separated from the mainland by a man-made canal, for example the Peloponnese by the Corinth Canal, it is generally not considered an island.
There are two main types of islands: continental islands and oceanic islands. There are also artificial islands.
Famous quotes containing the word island:
“The shifting islands! who would not be willing that his house should be undermined by such a foe! The inhabitant of an island can tell what currents formed the land which he cultivates; and his earth is still being created or destroyed. There before his door, perchance, still empties the stream which brought down the material of his farm ages before, and is still bringing it down or washing it away,the graceful, gentle robber!”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“Know that, on the right hand of the Indies, there is an island called California, very near to the Terrestrial Paradise, which was peopled with black women.... Their arms were all of gold.”
—For the State of California, U.S. public relief program (1935-1943)
“They all came, some wore sentiments
Emblazoned on T-shirts, proclaiming the lateness
Of the hour, and indeed the sun slanted its rays
Through branches of Norfolk Island pine as though
Politely clearing its throat....”
—John Ashbery (b. 1927)