from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • A peninsula of southern Europe projecting into the Mediterranean Sea between the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic seas.
  • A country of southern Europe comprising the peninsula of Italy, Sardinia, Sicily, and several smaller islands. It was settled in antiquity by Italic tribes, Etruscans, and Greek colonists. The non-Roman peoples were gradually supplanted as the power of Rome grew from the fourth century B.C. After the fall of the Roman Empire (A.D. 476), Italy was ruled by various barbarian tribes, local families, and popes. Nationalism in the 19th century led to unification under King Victor Emmanuel II in 1870. Italy became a fascist state under Benito Mussolini, whose regime (1922-1943) was allied with Germany in World War II. After surrendering to the Allies in 1943, Italy was reconstituted as a republic in 1946. Rome is the capital and the largest city. Population: 58,100,000.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. A country in southern Europe, one of the states of the European Union. Official name: The Italian Republic (in Italian, la Repubblica Italiana).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a republic in southern Europe on the Italian Peninsula; was the core of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire between the 4th century BC and the 5th century AD


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English Italy, Italie, from Old English Italia ("Italy"), from Latin Ītalia ("Italy"), via Ancient Greek Ἰταλία (Ītaliā), from Oscan Víteliú (a name for the southwestern tip of the boot of Italy), meaning "land of bulls" in Oscan; usually assumed to be a cognate of vitulus ("calf"), despite the different length of the i.


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  • Italy the paradice of the earth, and the Epicures heauen, how doth it forme our yong master? It makes him to kisse his hand like an ape, cringe his neck like a starueling, and play at hey passe repasse come aloft when hee salutes a man. From thence he brings the art of atheisme, the art of epicurising, the art of whoring, the art of poysoning, the art of Sodomitrie.

    - Thomas Nashe, The Unfortunate Traveller, 1594

    April 14, 2010