Definitions

islet-langerhans

Islet

[ahy-lit]
For human anatomy, see Islets of Langerhans

An islet is a small island.

Types

As suggested by its origin as islette, an Old French diminutive of "isle", use of the term implies small size, but little attention is given to drawing an upper limit on its applicability.

Rock:
A "rock", in the sense of a type of islet, is a landform composed of rock, lying offshore, uninhabited, and having at most minimal vegetation.

Sandbar:
An exposed sandbar is another type of islet.

Subsidiary islets:
A more technical application is to small land features, isolated by water, lying off the shore of a larger island. Likewise, any emergent land in an atoll is also called an islet.

Synonymous terms

  • Islets are often called cays or keys in the Caribbean and West Atlantic. Rum Cay in the Bahamas and the Florida Keys off Florida are examples of islets.
  • In Scotland and Ireland, they are often called inches, from the Gaelic innis, which originally meant island, but has been supplanted to refer to smaller islands. In Ireland they are often termed skerries.
  • In the Channel Islands, they are often identified by the suffix -hou from the Norse -holmr.
  • Holm or Holmen is a common suffix too in Nordic and northern European lands ("holme" means "islet" in Swedish and Norwegian).

List of islets

References

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