1. A peninsula of southern Europe projecting into the Mediterranean Sea between the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic Seas.
2. 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, but from the fourth century BC became dominated by Rome, eventually forming the core of the Roman Empire. After AD 476, Italy was ruled by various Germanic tribes, local families, and popes. The 13th to 16th centuries saw a cultural flowering in such city-states as Pisa, Florence, and Venice that eventually spread throughout Europe as the Renaissance. 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 the war, Italy was reconstituted as a republic (1946). Rome is the capital and largest city.
(click for a larger image)Italy
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.