Egypt

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One of the ancient Egyptian names of the country, Kemet (kṃt), (from kem "black"), is derived from the fertile black soils deposited by the Nile floods, distinct from the deshret, or "red land" (dšṛt), of the desert. The name is realized as kīmi and kīmə in the Coptic stage of the Egyptian language, and appeared in early Greek as Χημία (Khēmía). Another name was t3-mry "land of the riverbank". The names of Upper and Lower Egypt were Ta-Sheme'aw (t3-šmˁw) "sedgeland" and Ta-Mehew (t3 mḥw) "northland", respectively.

Miṣr, the Arabic and modern official name of Egypt (Egyptian Arabic: Maṣr), is of Semitic origin, directly cognate with other Semitic words for Egypt such as the Hebrew מִצְרַיִם (Mitzráyim), literally meaning "the two straits" (a reference to the dynastic separation of upper and lower Egypt). The word originally connoted "metropolis" or "civilization" and also means "country", or "frontier-land".

The English name "Egypt" came via the Latin word Aegyptus derived from the ancient Greek word Aígyptos (Αίγυπτος). The adjective aigýpti, aigýptios was borrowed into Coptic as gyptios, kyptios, and from there into Arabic as qubṭī, back formed into qubṭ, whence English Copt. The term is derived from Late Egyptian Hikuptah "Memphis", a corruption of the earlier Egyptian name Hat-ka-Ptah (ḥwt-k3-ptḥ), meaning "home of the ka (soul) of Ptah", the name of a temple to the god Ptah at Memphis. Strabo provided a folk etymology according to which Aígyptos (Αίγυπτος ) had evolved as a compound from Aigaiou huptiōs (Aἰγαίου ὑπτίως), meaning "below the Aegean".

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