This article proposes an alternative way to explore a series of definitions, concepts, meanings and, sometimes, polysemies of island worlds, by using mainly ancient Greek literary sources, diachronic island names, and their etymologies, epithets, and other systems of labelling and describing them. It argues that such evidence literally and metaphorically involves mirrors and maps, and transcribes important parameters of an eloquent cognitive geography, forged from long-established knowledge and empirical wisdom, and relevant to modern scientific insights, including archaeological ones. If systematically investigated and thoroughly deciphered, this may disclose numerous meaningful elements of the insular topoi we study; and thus enrich significantly our efforts to conceive them as ‘total’ natural and cultural geographies – or ‘insularities’ – through time. Here, a limited number of cited examples illustrate a few, and mainly physical, aspects of their morphological, geological, topographic and other environmental traits – only tentatively touching upon their human-made landscapes. All the same, the information this provides may be also relevant, even if indirectly, to the islands' cultural environments. Furthermore, this approach can certainly be expanded to cover various other general and specific insular properties – including their inhabitants and diachronic monuments.