ancient city of Egypt, from Memphis, the Greek form of Egyptian Mennefer, literally "his beauty," from men "his" + nefer "beauty" (as in Queen Nefertiti, literally "Beauty has Come"). A reference to pharaoh Pepi I (24c. B.C.E.). The city in Tennessee, U.S., was so named 1826 for obscure reasons. Related: Memphian (1590s); Memphitic (mid-15c.). An inhabitant was a Memphite (from Greek Memphitēs).
updated on December 21, 2018