group of islands north of Scotland, constituting an administrative division of Scotland: 377 sq mi (976 sq km); pop. 20,000
< ON Orkneyjar, lit., seal islands < orkn, a seal + ey, island
See Orkney Islands in American Heritage Dictionary 4
An archipelago comprising about 70 islands in the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea off the northeast coast of Scotland. Originally settled by Picts, the islands were a Norse dependency after 875 and became part of Scotland in 1472.