Tigris | etymology


Bedouin crossing the river Tigris with plunder (c.1860)

The Ancient Greek form Tigris (Τίγρις) meaning "tiger" (if treated as Greek) was adapted from Old Persian Tigrā, itself from Elamite Tigra, itself from Sumerian Idigna.

The original Sumerian Idigna or Idigina was probably from *id (i)gina "running water",[5] which can be interpreted as "the swift river", contrasted to its neighbour, the Euphrates, whose leisurely pace caused it to deposit more silt and build up a higher bed than the Tigris. The Sumerian form was borrowed into Akkadian as Idiqlat, and from there into the other Semitic languages (cf. Hebrew Ḥîddeqel, Syriac Deqlaṯ, Arabic Dijlah).

Another name for the Tigris used in Middle Persian was Arvand Rud, literally "swift river". Today, however, Arvand Rud (New Persian: اروند رود) refers to the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers (known in Arabic as the Shatt al-Arab). In Kurdish, it is also known as Ava Mezin, "the Great Water".

The name of the Tigris in languages that have been important in the region:

Outside of Mosul, Iraq
Language Name for Tigris
Akkadian 𒁇𒄘𒃼, Idiqlat
Arabic دجلة, Dijlah; حداقل, Ḥudaqil
Aramaic ܕܝܓܠܐܬ, Diglath
Armenian Տիգրիս, Tigris, Դգլաթ, Dglatʿ
Greek ἡ Τίγρης, -ητος, hē Tígrēs, -ētos;

ἡ, ὁ Τίγρις, -ιδος, hē, ho Tígris, -idos

Hebrew חידקל , Ḥîddeqel biblical Hiddekel[6]
Hurrian Aranzah[7]
Kurdish Dîcle, Dîjla دیجلە
Persian Old Persian: 𐎫𐎡𐎥𐎼𐎠 Tigrā; Middle Persian: Tigr; Modern Persian:دجله Dejle
Sumerian 𒁇𒄘𒃼 Idigna/Idigina IDIGNA (Borger 2003 nr. 124) 𒈦𒄘𒃼
Syriac ܕܹܩܠܵܬ Deqlaṯ
Turkish Dicle