capital of old Brabant and modern Belgium, a name of Germanic origin, from brocca "marsh" + sali "room, building," from Latin cella (see cell). It arose 6c. as a fortress on an island in a river. As a type of carpet, from 1799; as a type of lace, from 1748.
Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea gemmifera) is attested from 1748 (the first written description of them is from 1580s); they have long been associated with Flanders and especially Brussels (compare the French name, choux de Bruxelles).
ancient city, modern Antakya in Turkey, anciently the capital of Syria, founded c. 300 B.C.E. by Seleucus I Nictor and named for his father, Antiochus. The name, also borne by several Syrian kings and an eclectic philosopher, is a Latinized form of Greek Antiokhos, literally "resistant, holding out against," from anti "against" (see anti-) + ekhein "to have, hold;" in intransitive use, "be in a given state or condition" (from PIE root *segh- "to hold"). Related: Antiochian.
fem. proper name, from Latin, literally "queen;" related to rex (genitive regis) "king" (from PIE root *reg- "move in a straight line," with derivatives meaning "to direct in a straight line," thus "to lead, rule"). Cognate with Sanskrit rajni "queen," Welsh rhyain "maiden, virgin." The capital city of Saskatchewan was named 1882 by the then-governor general of Canada, Marquess of Lorne, in honor of Queen Victoria.
capital of Iraq; the name is pre-Islamic and dates to the 8c., but its origin is disputed. It often is conjectured to be of Indo-European origin, from Middle Persian elements, and mean "gift of god," from bagh "god" (cognate with Russian bog "god," Sanskrit Bhaga; compare Bhagavad-Gita) + dād "given" (from PIE root *do- "to give"). But some have suggested origins for the name in older languages of the region. Marco Polo (13c.) wrote it Baudac.
Middle English, earlier Ligraceaster, Ligera ceaster (early 10c.) "Roman Town of the People Called Ligore," a tribal name, perhaps "dwellers by the River Ligor." For second element, see Chester. The site is the Roman Ratae Coritanorum, fortified tribal capital of the Coritani, whose name is of unknown origin, with a Celtic word for "ramparts." The modern name "is best regarded as a new descriptive term for a deserted site" [Watts, "Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names"].
surname, attested from c. 1400 (Harrys), from "Harry," the popular pronunciation of Henry. As a type of tweed (1892), it is from the name of the southern section of the island of Lewis with Harris in the Outer Hebrides; originally it referred to fabric produced by the inhabitants there, later a proprietary name. That place name represents Gaelic na-h-earaidh "that which is higher," in comparison to the lower Lewis. Harrisburg, capital of Pennsylvania, is named for ferryman John Harris (1727-1791), son of the original European settler.
capital of Babylon, now a ruin near Hillah in Iraq, late 14c., from Late Latin, from Hebrew Babhel (Genesis xi), from Akkadian bab-ilu "Gate of God" (from bab "gate" + ilu "god"). The name is a translation of Sumerian Ka-dingir.
The meaning "a confused medley of sounds" (1520s) is from the biblical story of the Tower of Babel and the confusion of tongues (Genesis xi). The element bab figures in other place-names across the Middle East, such as Bab-el-Mandeb, the strait at the mouth of the Red Sea.
capital of Laconia in ancient Greece, famed for severity of its social order, the frugality of its people, the valor of its arms, and the brevity of its speech. Also for dirty boys, men vain of their long hair, boxing girls, iron money, and insufferable black broth. The name is said to be from Greek sparte "cord made from spartos," a type of broom, from PIE *spr-to-, from root *sper- (2) "to turn, twist" (see spiral (adj.)). Perhaps the reference is to the cords laid as foundation markers for the city. Or the whole thing could be folk etymology.
North African country, named for Algiers, the city chosen by the French as its capital when they colonized the region in 1830 + Latinate "country" suffix -ia. The city name is Arabic al-Jazair, literally "the islands" (plural of jezira) in reference to four islands formerly off the coast but joined to the mainland since 1525. Related: Algerian (1620s); a resident of the place (especially indigenous, as opposed to French colonists) also could be an Algerine (1650s), and that word was practically synonymous with "pirate" in English and U.S. usage early 19c.
"building in Washington, D.C., where U.S. Congress meets," 1793 (in writings of Thomas Jefferson), from Latin Capitolium, name of the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, protector of the city, on the Capitoline Hill in ancient Rome. Used earlier of Virginia state houses (1699). Its use in American public architecture deliberately evokes Roman republican imagery. With reference to the Roman citadel, Capitol is recorded in English from late 14c., via Old North French capitolie. Relationship of Capitoline to capital (adj.) is likely but not certain.