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Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From the Wade-Giles romanization of Mandarin pronunciation for 馬祖 (Ma³-tsu³).


Proper noun[edit]

Matsu (usually uncountable, plural Matsus)

  1. An island group in the East China Sea; synonymous with Lienchiang County, Taiwan (ROC).
    • 1959, Sampson C. Shen, editor, China Yearbook 1958-1959[1], Taipei, Taiwan: China Publishing Co., page 99:
      Matsu Islands
      Like the Kinmens, the Matsu Islands are part of Fukien Province. A political affairs commission is the administrative organ, supported by the Lienkiang Hsien Government. They form the northern anchor of the offshore defense line and seal the mouth of the Min River.
    • 1963, Dwight Eisenhower, Mandate for Change 1953-1956[2], Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, LCCN 63-18447, OCLC 64309101, page 461:
      The nineteen rocky, treeless Matsus, covering twelve square miles, blocked the port of Foochow on the Chinese mainland, just ten miles away, while the Quemoys, covering sixty square miles of land which supported several thousand farmers and fishermen, blocked the port of Amoy, only two miles away.
    • 1964 May 22, Ralph N. Clough, “Letter From the Charge to the Republic of China (Clough) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Bundy)”, in Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State[3]:
      The Chinese Communist shelling of Matsu on May 16, which clearly seems to have been a reaction to GRC artillery fire from Matsu covering a raiding party launched from Matsu against Lienchiang (FCT 8622), caused me to give consideration to repeating to the GRC the warning we gave them last spring that they should not assume the US would assist the GRC should the Chicoms attack the smaller offshore islands in retaliation for raids mounted by the GRC from such islands.
    • 'As best as we can figure without talking to President Lee,' Freeman said, 'Taiwan wanted to knock that carrier out of commission, then cripple Lang-Ch'i Army Base, which is the main staging point for China's invasion force for the Matsu Island chain.'
    • 2015, Hu Meidong, Lin Shujuan, “Further options open for Straits travel”, in China Daily[5]:
      A passenger ferry route between Huangqi in Fujian province and Matsu in Taiwan has allowed tourists and commuters a cheaper and faster choice for cross-Straits travel.
      Huangqi, a port under the administration of the capital Fuzhou, is the closest mainland port to Matsu, which has also been connected with Mawei port in Fuzhou since 2001. A direct passenger ferry trip along the latter route takes around 90 minutes.
      Each trip along the Huangqi-Matsu route, which crosses an 8-kilometer strip of sea, takes 25 minutes and costs 135 yuan ($21).
      "The Huangqi-Matsu route has made daily commuting between Lianjiang and Matsu much easier," said Yang Wenjian, head of Lianjiang-Matsu Cultural Research Society, an NGO dedicated to promoting civil exchanges between the two places.
    • 2019, George Liao, “Taiwan’s Matsu offers tourists free kayaking activities”, in Taiwan News[6]:
      The athletic association is promoting the sport of kayaking in an effort to help Beigan Township develop coastal and maritime tourism by hiring Taiwan Kayak Association professionals to provide tourists free coaching on how to maneuver a kayak and enable themselves to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Matsu from the sea, according to Matsu Daily (馬祖日報).
    • 2020 September 21, Ben Blanchard and Martin Quin Pollard, “Taiwan's race to save endangered plant species”, in ABC News[7]:
      In the forests and on remote offshore islands of Taiwan, a group of conservationists are racing to collect as many rare plant species as they can before they are lost to climate change and human encroachment.
      Overseen by the Dr. Cecilia Koo Botanic Conservation Centre, the plant hunters are scouring sub-tropical Taiwan for as many rare plant samples as they can find, from the rugged eastern coast around Taitung to Dongyin, in the Matsu archipelago.
  2. An island in Lienchiang, Taiwan, also known as Nangan.
    • 1951 June 22, “Chinese Communist Military Activities, East China”, in CIA[8], page 3:
      19. On the evening of 11 June, Nationalist warships YUNG CH'UN (永春) and CHENG AN (正安) and the Nationalist gunboat HAI LI (海利) engaged in battle with 2 Chinese Communist converted 200-ton gunboats, and a 1,400-ton armored motor junk in the Huangch'iwan (黄岐湾) area, approximately 10 miles northwest of Matsu Island. The Nationalist warships had pursued the Chinese Communist vessels from the mouth of the Min River. The HAI LI joined the battle in the Huangch'iwan area. The Chinese Communist motor junk was destroyed and the gunboats were damaged. The coastal defense positions of the Chinese Communist Seacoast Defense Battalion (sic) with a total of 7 guns along Huangch'iwan were partially destroyed by the HAI LI when the battalion's guns fired on Nationalist vessels during the battle.
    • 1960, OCTOBER 7, 1960 Presidential Candidates Debate[9], C-SPAN, 55:49 from the start:
      Now I think as far as Quemoy and Matsu are concerned, that the question is not these two little pieces of real estate- they are unimportant. It isn't the few people who live on them- they are not too important. It's the principle involved. These two islands are in the area of freedom. The Nationalists have these two islands. We should not force our Nationalist allies to get off of them and give them to the Communists. If we do that, we start a chain reaction, because the Communists aren't after Quemoy and Matsu, they're after Formosa. In my opinion, this is the same kind of woolly thinking that lead to disaster for America in Korea, I'm against it, I would never tolerate it as President of the United States, and I will hope that Senator Kennedy will change his mind if he should be elected.
    • 1977 December 18, “Record crab catch for Matsu fisherman”, in Free China Weekly[10], volume XVIII, number 50, Taipei, page 4:
      A fisherman on the offshore island of Matsu caught more than 35,000 kilograms of sea crabs Dec. 13, breaking a record for one day which has stood for 10 years, military sources said.
      . . .
      Crabs are currently in season at Matsu, a few miles off shore from the Chinese Communist-held mainland and were previously being sold at NT$10 (about US$0.26) per kilogram.
      A spokesman for the Matsu Defense Command said Wang's surprise catch helped to bring the price down to NT$8 per kilogram. Even so, Wang made some NT$28,000 (US$778) on his boatload.
    • 1978, Richard Nixon, RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon[11], Simon & Schuster, →ISBN, page 271:
      I also hammered hard on Kennedy's shortsighted unwillingness to defend the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu, occupied by Chiang Kai-shek's forces.
    • 1996, Patrick Tyler, “China Warns U.S. to Keep Away From Taiwan Strait”, in New York Times[12]:
      For the new round of Chinese war games beginning on Monday, China has declared a large part of the Taiwan Strait as a military exercise area and has warned international shipping and aviation to stay away. The prospect of the exercises prompted about 300 Taiwan citizens to leave small islands around Matsu, the strategic bastion off the Chinese port of Fuzhou that was to serve as the Nationalists' staging area to retake the mainland.
      "We are leaving for Taiwan to escape disaster," said a schoolgirl from the island of Tong Chu, near Matsu and just 10 nautical miles away from the area of the Chinese war games. Taiwan television stations carried film of the mini-evacuation, but also noted that a number of residents were choosing to stay in their homes.
    • 2012, Listening In: JFK's Secret Tapes[13], John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, 42:09 from the start:
      I should add a story, you know in the South at that time, Governor Barnett was sort of known as a bit of a dim bulb. And two years before, during the presidential campaign, one of the flashpoints in the debates that fall involved two Nationalist Chinese islands just off the coast of China: Quemoy and Matsu. And right after this argument erupted in the campaign, Ross Barnett was out politicking one day and the reporters asked him, "Governor, what about Quemoy and Matsu?" And he looked around sort of lost and said to one of his aides, "Them those two fellers I put on the Fishing and Game Commission last year?"
    • 2019 May 18, “New passenger route links Mawei in Fujian with Matsu island”, in Mu Xuequan, editor, Xinhua News Agency[14]:
      The new port on the Chinese mainland side, which is located in Langqi island, Mawei District, is 23 nautical miles off Matsu island, reducing the original journey by 40 minutes.
  3. A strait between Beigan and Nangan in Lienchiang County, Taiwan (ROC).

Etymology 2[edit]

From the Wade-Giles romanization of Mandarin 媽祖妈祖 (Māzǔ).

Proper noun[edit]


  1. Alternative form of Mazu (goddess).