One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A black or dark-skinned person; a black African; (occasionally) an Ethiopian.
1Of or relating to Ethiopia; Ethiopian.
2Black or dark (literally or figuratively).
Old English; earliest use found in Orosius' History. From classical Latin Aethiops (genitive Aethiopis) (noun) inhabitant of Ethiopia, Ethiopian, black man, (adjective) of or connected with Ethiopia, Ethiopian from ancient Greek Αἰθιοπ-, Αἰθίοψ (noun and adjective) Ethiopian; of uncertain origin. The prevailing view since antiquity was that Αἰθίοψ derived from αἴθειν to light up, kindle + ὄψ face, and meant primarily ‘burnt-face’; the formation is however not clear, and some have supposed the word to be a name of pre-Greek origin, involving a different suffix; compare e.g. Δρύοπες, Δόλοπες, both names of peoples.
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