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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For human anatomy, see Islets of Langerhans
Mōkōlea Rock in Kailua Bay, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, 2.2 km off North Beach, Marine Corps Base Hawaii

An islet is a small island.



As suggested by its origin as islette, an Old French diminutive of "isle",[1] 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.
  • Sea stack - A thin, vertical landform jutting out of a body of water.
  • 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.
    • Tidal island - Often small islands (not necessarily always islets) which lie off the mainland of an area, being connected to it in low tide and isolated in high tide.
  • River island - A small islet within the current of a river.

Synonymous terms

  • Holm or Holmen is a common suffix too in Nordic and northern European countries ("holme" means "islet" in Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although the meaning is more precise: a holme in Swedish is usually big enough for having wood and some fresh water but too small for a village; smaller islets have other names – there is an intricate name system to make it possible to remember and recognize different islets, hundreds of which have been important in some archipelagos).
  • In the Caribbean and West Atlantic, islets are often called cays or keys. Rum Cay in the Bahamas and the Florida Keys off Florida are examples of islets.
  • In the Channel Islands, they are often identified by the suffix -hou from the Norse -holm.
  • 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 and around Polynesia, islets are widely known by the term motu, from the term for the coral-rubble islets common to the region.

List of islets

There are thousands of islets on Earth. Approximately 24,000 islands and islets in the Stockholm archipelago alone. The following is a list of example islets from around the world.


  1. ^ Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, 1958


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