Copyright The Columbia University PressThe Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. The Columbia University Press
Malayan (məlā´ən) or Malay (mā´lā), general term for one of a population of persons inhabiting SE Asia and the adjacent islands. The Malays vary greatly in physical appearance. The term Indonesian, used as an alternative for Malayan, is sometimes applied to the people of interior districts, who are thought to be related to the Pygmies or Negritos (probably the earlier inhabitants of the region). In the coastal districts there has been intermixture with the Arabs, the Chinese, the Indians, and the Thais. Scores of languages or dialects are spoken; they form a group of the Malayo-Polynesian languages. Among anthropologists the term Malayan is used exclusively to describe an inhabitant of the Malayan Peninsula.
© Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes 2007, originally published by Oxford University Press 2007.Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes Oxford University Press