I am looking for a word that describes a geographical landmass which is bigger than a single nation but smaller than a continent.

"Region" is not acceptable - I am using that already to define a much smaller area, so can't use it.

For example, this word will describe these types of landmasses:

  • East Coast (US + Canada)
  • Western Europe
  • Alpine Region
  • South East Asia
  • Korean Peninsula


I am designing an information system that deals with geographical regions of varying sizes.

  • World
  • Continent
  • ? <- this is the word I am looking for
  • Country
  • Region (this is for state, province, city, town, village, suburb, borough, and everything in between)


The only option I have is "subcontinent" - but I wish there was something better.

  • 3
    I wonder if you shouldn't make a distinction between political regions and geographic ones.
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 3, 2022 at 20:14
  • 4
    I'm pretty sure that "region" is the most commonly used term for that. Have you looked in a thesaurus? You'll find options such as "area" and "zone" that might work. Sep 3, 2022 at 21:27
  • 2
    I think that 'region' is the most commonly used term. If you are at the design stage I suggest that you use 'area' for your smaller units and 'region' for the larger one. If the system is already partly implemented use 'area' for the larger one. I'd suggest that you don't use 'landmass' as, to me that implies a large area of land with distinct boundaries and very specific characteristics.
    – BoldBen
    Sep 4, 2022 at 6:41
  • 1
    You already have the answer: subcontinent. It is not clear what you mean by "something better". I don't believe there is something better, or in better words, something more apt and clear. Another option is neologizing your own word like supercountry, megacountry or multicountry; but they are no better than subcontinent.
    – ermanen
    Sep 4, 2022 at 11:50
  • 2
    It seems that you are writing a document that has a stipulated terminology of its own, and that in the course of writing it you have decided to use region within the document in a particular way. Well and good, creating such a stipulatively defined terminology for use within a particular document is common and often useful. Your decision to use region in this way, however, now precludes you from using it for this other purpose, even though it would otherwise be the best word for it. How to solve that problem is a matter for you to decide; it is not matter of established usage.
    – jsw29
    Sep 5, 2022 at 15:23

2 Answers 2


You may use landmass

Merriam Webster
a large area of land
continental landmasses

Three examples plucked at random from the web are:

Geographically, the Kola Peninsula forms the heel of the Scandinavian landmass

Albania has a variety of climate systems. With its coastline facing the Adriatic and Ionian seas in the Mediterranean sea, its highlands backed upon the elevated Balkan landmass, ...

Korean (Hankukmal) is the language of the Korean landmass in upper east Asia.

In each example the area referred to comprises more than one country but does not extend to a whole continent, although the term is also used for that purpose.

  • The problem is that the OP has not stated if, as Hot Licks mentions, they are interested in political, geographic, or economic areas.
    – Greybeard
    Sep 3, 2022 at 22:35
  • @Greybeard I see no problem; the question says “geographic”.
    – Anton
    Sep 3, 2022 at 22:38
  • @Anton But OP acknowledges in the response to a comment that political jurisdictions must be considered because he’s working on supply chains.
    – Xanne
    Sep 3, 2022 at 22:58
  • 1
    @Anton, take note of the OP's examples: it would be very odd to refer to the East Coast of North America or to Western Europe as distinct landmasses.
    – jsw29
    Sep 4, 2022 at 15:31
  • What about "Colorado landmass"? It is smaller than Country.
    – banuyayi
    Sep 4, 2022 at 21:07

The term "region" fits most for land masses bigger than countries, yet smaller than entire continents, although "region" may also mean a particular part of one country. Geographers define regions based on shared characteristics, such as climate, form of government, dominant religion, main language, etc.

  • 1
    Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Apr 23 at 5:56
  • 1
    How would that be distinguished from the region that's already being used for areas smaller than a country? Did you even read the question? Apr 23 at 10:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.