- (used with a plural verb) a group of islands in the W Atlantic Ocean, SE of Florida.
- (used with a singular verb) an independent country comprising this group: formerly a British colony; gained independence 1973. 4404 sq. mi. (11,406 sq. km). Capital: Nassau.
- the Bahamas a group of over 700 coral islands (about 20 of which are inhabited) in the Caribbean: a British colony from 1783 until 1964; an independent nation within the Commonwealth from 1973. Language: English. Currency: Bahamian dollar. Capital: Nassau. Pop: 319 031 (2013 est). Area: 13 939 sq km (5381 sq miles)
islands discovered by Columbus in 1492, settled by English in 1648, long after the native population had been wiped out by disease or carried off into slavery; the name is said to be from Spanish baja mar “low sea,” in reference to the shallow water here, but more likely represents a local name, Guanahani, whose origin had been lost and whose meaning has been forgotten.