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Definition: North America from The Macquarie Dictionary

the northernmost continent of the Western Hemisphere, extending from Central America to the Arctic Ocean. Highest point, Mt McKinley, Alaska, 6187 m; lowest, Death Valley, eastern California, 84 m below sea level.

24~400~000 km2

North American noun adjective

North Americans

Summary Article: North America
From Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary

Continent in Western Hemisphere; 3d in size at 9,361,791 sq. mi. (24,247,039 sq. km.); generally considered to include island of Greenland in NE.


On N, Arctic Ocean (Beaufort Sea on NW); large bodies of water in N Canada: Viscount Melville Sound, Foxe Basin, Hudson Bay and Hudson Strait; on NE, Baffin Bay and Davis Strait; most northerly point (on mainland) tip of Boothia Penin. 70°30′N, most northerly point on islands Cape Morris Jesup, N Greenland, 83°38′N; many large islands in N, belonging to Canada: Baffin, Ellesmere, Victoria, Banks, Southampton, Parry Is. On E, North Atlantic Ocean (chief inlets: Gulf of St. Lawrence, Bay of Fundy, Chesapeake Bay); most easterly point (continental) SE coast of Labrador, Canada, ab. 55°42′W; islands: Newfoundland, Anticosti, Prince Edward, Cape Breton, Long, Bermuda Is. On SE, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea; for islands see west indies. On S, Pacific Ocean (chief inlets: Gulf of Panama, Gulf of California); most southerly point SE Panama 7°15′N. On W, North Pacific Ocean (chief subdivisions: Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea); most westerly point (continental) Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, 168°05′W; separated from Asia by Bering Strait; most important islands: Vancouver, Queen Charlotte Is., islands of SE Alaska, Aleutian Is., Nunivak, and St. Lawrence.

Topographic features:

Greatest mountain ranges along Pacific coast (esp. Rocky Mts.) extending from Alaska into Mexico and Central America; Great Plains E of Rocky Mts. extending from Arctic Ocean to Gulf of Mexico; lowlands in center around Hudson Bay and in Mississippi Valley; highlands in E (Canadian Shield and Appalachian Mts.); low coastal plain along Atlantic; high ice-covered plateau in Greenland; highest point Mt. McKinley, Alaska, 20,320 ft. (6194 m.); lowest Badwater in Death Valley, California, 282 ft. (86 m.) below sea level.


Yukon (Canada and Alaska), Mackenzie, Saskatchewan and Nelson (Canada), St. Lawrence and Columbia (Canada and U.S.), Mississippi-Missouri system, Colorado (in SW), Penobscot, Connecticut, Hudson, Delaware, Susquehanna, Potomac, James, Cape Fear, Savannah (Atlantic seaboard, U.S.), Apalachicola, Mobile, Pearl, Sabine, Brazos, Colorado (Texas), to Gulf of Mexico; San Joaquin and Sacramento (W coast), Rio Grande (U.S. and Mexico), Pánuco, Balsas, Grijalva (Mexico).


Great Bear, Great Slave, Winnipeg (Canada); Great Lakes (Superior, Huron, Erie, Ontario—in Canada and U.S.) and Michigan (U.S.), Great Salt Lake (U.S.).

Political divisions:

Canada, United States, Mexico, Central America (q.v.) adjoining South America in extreme S, and West Indies off SE coast enclosing Caribbean Sea. Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies are sometimes known as Middle America.

Copyright © 2007 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated

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