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Samarra

[suh-mahr-uh]
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noun
  1. a town in central Iraq, on the Tigris: seat of the early Abassid caliphs.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Word Origin and History for samarra

Samarra

city in north-central Iraq; phrase an appointment in Samarra indicating the inevitability of death is from an old Arabic tale (first in English apparently in W. Somerset Maugham's play "Sheppey," 1933), in which a man encunters Death (with a surprised look on his bony face) one day in the marketplace in Baghdad; he flees in terror and by dusk has reached Samarra. Death takes him there, and, when questioned, replies, "I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper