Etymology[ edit ] Joget dance from the Malacca Sultanate ; many aspects of Malay culture are derived from the Malaccan court. The term is thought to be derived from the Malay word melaju, a combination of the verbal prefix 'me' and the root word 'laju', meaning "to accelerate", used to describe the accelerating strong current of the river. It was applied to report the social partialities of the Malaccans as opposed to foreigners as of the similar area, especially the Javanese and Thais  This is evidenced from the early 16th century Malay word-list by Antonio Pigafetta who joined the Magellan's circumnavigation , that made a reference to how the phrase chiara Malaiu 'Malay ways' was used in the maritime Southeast Asia , to refer to the al parlare de Malaea Italian for "to speak of Malacca". Malaio, which originates from the original Malay word, Melayu. Prior to the 15th century, the term "Melayu" and its similar-sounding variants appear to apply as an old toponym to the Strait of Malacca region in general. Some scholars equate the term with Sumatra ,  but several Indian scholars believe the term should refer to the mountainous Malay peninsula , while Sumatra is more correctly associated with Suvarnadvipa.