strait between the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara, separating Europe from Asia, the classical Hellespont, probably from Dardanus (Greek Dardanos), name of an ancient city near Troy, on the Asia side of the strait, home of the Dardani, a people-name said to be from a mythical founder Dardanus, but this is likely folk-etymology. Related: Dardanian.
strait and sea between Alaska and Siberia, named for Danish explorer Vitus Bering, who worked for Peter the Great and led the first European expedition to sight Alaska, in 1741.
1580s, "pertaining to the brackish sea between the Scandinavian peninsula and Eastern Europe," from Medieval Latin Balticus, perhaps from Lithuanian baltas "white" or Scandinavian balta "belt; strait" (in reference to its narrow entranceway). In German, it is Ostsee, literally "east sea." From 1887 as the name of a language group comprising Lithuanian, Lettish, and Old Prussian.
a Latin error for bosporus, from Greek bosporos, a name applied to several channels or straits between seas, literally "ox's ford," from bous "ox" (from PIE root *gwou- "ox, bull, cow") + poros "passage, ford" (see pore (n.)). It was especially the name of the strait between the Sea of Marmora and the Black Sea (the Thracian Bosphorus).
1818, literally "Fairy Morgana," mirage especially common in the Strait of Messina, Italy, from Morgana, the "Morgan le Fay" of Anglo-French poetry, sister of King Arthur, located in Calabria by Norman settlers. Morgan is Welsh, "sea-dweller." There is perhaps, too, here an influence of Arabic marjan, literally "pearl," also a fem. proper name, popularly the name of a sorceress.
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.