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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