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[suh-mahr-uh] /səˈmɑr ə/
a town in central Iraq, on the Tigris: seat of the early Abassid caliphs. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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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
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