old name for Ethiopia, 1630s, from Modern Latin Abyssinia, from Arabic Habasah, the name for the region, said to be from Amharic hbsh "mixed" or Arabic habash "mixture," in reference to the different races dwelling there. In 1920s-30s popular as a slang pun for the parting salutation "I'll be seeing you." Related: Abyssinian (1620s; as a breed of domestic cat, 1876). In early use also Abyssine.
updated on August 12, 2018