Old English Egipte, from French Egypte, from Greek Aigyptos "the river Nile, Egypt," from Amarna Hikuptah, corresponding to Egyptian Ha(t)-ka-ptah "temple of the soul of Ptah," the creative god associated with Memphis, the ancient city of Egypt.
Strictly one of the names of Memphis, it was taken by the Greeks as the name of the whole country. The Egyptian name, Kemet, means "black country," possibly in reference to the rich delta soil. The Arabic is Misr, which is derived from Mizraim, the name of a son of Biblical Ham.
An ancient empire in Africa that was centered on the Nile River. Ruled by a pharaoh, Egypt figures prominently in many events in the Bible, including the stories of Joseph and his brothers and of Moses and the Exodus. (See under “World Geography.”)
Officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, a country in northeastern Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Israel and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. The principal geographic feature of the country is the Nile River. Its capital and largest city is Cairo. (See also Alexandria.)
Note: Egypt is the site of one of man's earliest civilizations, which flourished from about 3100 b.c. to 30 b.c., when it became part of the Roman Empire. Many ancient works of art and architecture survive, including the pyramids and the Sphinx.
Note: Egypt was the first Arab nation to make peace with Israel (see Arab-Israeli conflict), a feat accomplished after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel in 1977 to meet Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Sadat was later assassinated by Muslim extremists.