Virgin Islands definition by Webster's New World
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
group of islands of the Leeward group in the West Indies, east of Puerto Rico, comprising the , easternmost islands of this group, constituting a British territory (59 sq mi, 153 sq km; pop. 17,000), & the , the islands of this group closest to Puerto Rico, constituting a territory of the U.S. (134 sq mi, 347 sq km; pop. 109,000; cap. Charlotte Amalie: abbrev. VI)
Origin: ; from Spanish Las Virgenes, the virgins, so named (1493) by Christopher Columbus in honor of the legendary 11,000 followers of St. Ursula
Virgin Islands definition by American Heritage Dictionary
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
- Abbr. V.I. A group of islands of the northeast West Indies east of Puerto Rico. They are divided politically into the British Virgin Islands to the northeast and the Virgin Islands of the United States to the southwest. The islands were first sighted and named by Christopher Columbus in 1493.
- Abbr. VI or V.I.Officially Virgin Islands of the United States. A United States territory constituting the southwest group of the Virgin Islands. The islands were purchased from the Danish in 1917 because of their strategic location at the approach to the Panama Canal. Charlotte Amalie, on St. Thomas Island, is the capital. Population: 108,000.