Etymology
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Iraq 
country name, 1920, from an Arabic name attested since 6c. for the region known in Greek as Mesopotamia; often said to be from Arabic `araqa, covering notions such as "perspiring, deeply rooted, well-watered," which may reflect the desert Arabs' impression of the lush river-land. But the name might be from, or influenced by, Sumerian Uruk (Biblical Erech), anciently a prominent city in what is now southern Iraq (from Sumerian uru "city"). Related: Iraqi (attested in English from 1777, in reference to regional Mesopotamian music or dialects).
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Baqubah 
city in Iraq, from Arabic baya 'kuba "Jacob's house."
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Mosul 
city in northern Iraq, from Arabic al-Mawsul, literally "the joined," a reference to the bridge and ford over the Tigris here.
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Tigris 
river in Turkey and Iraq, from an Iranian source akin to words for "arrow," probably in reference to the swiftness of its current. Compare Old Persian tigra- "sharp, pointed," Avestan tighri- "arrow."
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Nineveh 

ancient capital city of Assyria, near Mosul in modern Iraq, from Akkadian (Semitic) Ni-nu-a, which is of uncertain origin but perhaps contains the name of a patron goddess. Related: Ninevite.

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embed (v.)
1778, "to lay in a bed (of surrounding matter)," from em- (1) + bed (n.). Originally a geological term, in reference to fossils in rock; figurative sense is by 1835; meaning "place (a journalist) within a military unit at war" is from 2003 and the Iraq war. Related: Embedded; embedding.
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Kuwait 
Persian Gulf country, named for its capital city (said to have been founded in current form 1705), which is from Arabic al-kuwayt, diminutive of kut, a word used in southern Iraq and eastern Arabia for a fortress-like house surrounded by a settlement and protected by encircling water, and said to be ultimately from Persian. Related: Kuwaiti.
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Baghdad 

capital city 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.

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muslin (n.)
c. 1600, "delicately woven cotton fabric," from French mousseline (17c.), from Italian mussolina, from Mussolo, Italian name of Mosul, city in northern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) where muslin was made. Like many fabric names, it has changed meaning over the years, in this case from luxurious to commonplace. In 13c. French, mosulin meant "cloth of silk and gold." The meaning "everyday cotton fabric for shirts, bedding, etc." is first attested 1872 in American English.
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Babel 
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. Meaning "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 place-names in the Middle East, such as Bab-el-Mandeb, the strait at the mouth of the Red Sea.
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