"one of the native people of Arabia and surrounding regions," late 14c. (Arabes, a plural form), from Old French Arabi, from Latin Arabs (accusative Arabem), from Greek Araps (genitive Arabos), from Arabic 'arab, indigenous name of the people, perhaps literally "inhabitant of the desert" and related to Hebrew arabha "desert."
Meaning "homeless little wanderer, child of the street" is from 1848 (Arab of the city, but the usual form was city arab), in reference to the nomadic ways of the Bedouin. Arab League formed in Cairo, March 22, 1945.
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