from Latin Iberia, the ancient name of the large southwestern peninsula of Europe, from Greek Iberes, the name of a Celtic people of ancient Spain. An identical name was given to an Asiatic people near the Caucasus in what is now Georgia. Of unknown origin in both uses, but the word as applied in Spain is believed to be related to that of the River Ebro. Related: Iberian (c. 1600 as a noun; 1610s as an adjective).
updated on October 10, 2017