Mal·tese (môl-tēz, -tēs)
Of or relating to Malta or its people, language, or culture.
n. pl. Maltese
a. A native or inhabitant of Malta.
b. A person of Maltese ancestry.
2. The Semitic language of the people of Malta, which developed from the Arabic spoken by medieval Arabic-speaking settlers and contains many loanwords from Italian. Maltese and English are the official languages of Malta.
3. A dog of a toy breed having a long silky white coat. The breed was developed in the Mediterranean region and has long been associated with Malta.
4. A Maltese cat.
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.