1590s, earlier yland (c.1300), from Old English igland "island," from ieg "island" (from Proto-Germanic *aujo "thing on the water," from PIE *akwa- "water;" see aqua-) + land "land." Spelling modified 15c. by association with similar but unrelated isle. An Old English cognate was ealand "river-land, watered place, meadow by a river." In place names, Old English ieg is often used of "slightly raised dry ground offering settlement sites in areas surrounded by marsh or subject to flooding" [Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names]. Related: Islander.