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Etymology 1Edit

Highly disputed etymology. Hypotheses include:




  1. pyramid (monumental building) [from the Pyramid Texts through the Saite Period]
    • c. 1550 BCE, Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, problem 59:
      mr pr-m-ws n.f jmy m 12
      A pyramid, its height 12 [cubits]
  2. (rare) heap of corpses [20th Dynasty]
    • c. 1180 BCE, Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu, Inscription of the Year 5, lines 35-36:
      ptrj bjn jm.w r qꜣ n(j) pt nw tꜣy.w wmt ḥr st pꜣ smꜣ.w st jrw m mrw ḥr pꜣ.w zꜣtw m tꜣ pḥtj n(j) nswt qn m ḥꜥw.f nb wꜥ sḫmtj mjtj mnṯw nswt-bjtj wsr-mꜣꜥt-rꜥ-mr(y)-jmn zꜣ-rꜥ rꜥ-ms-s(w)-ḥqꜣ-jwnw
      Behold, they were in badness to the height of the sky, as their thick crowd was collected upon the place of their slaughter, and they were made into corpse-heaps on their soil by the might of the king, valiant in his limbs, the only lord, powerful like Montu, Dual King Usermaatre-Meryamun, Son of Ra Ramesses, Ruler of Heliopolis.
Alternative formsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

Possibly from a Proto-Afro-Asiatic *m-r (river, channel). Compare South Omotic *mir- (“river”), with reflexes including Aari mɨri (river, stream) and Dime mɪ́rɛ (river). A possible Semitic cognate is Sabaean [script needed] (mr, part of an irrigation system). Possible Cushitic cognates include Borana Oromo mērī (watering trough), Tsamai mīre (pond), and possible Chadic cognates include Fali mirə̂ (river), Muskum mìrà (oxbow lake, marigot).




  1. canal, ditch, waterway [since the Pyramid Texts]
    • c. 24th century BCE, Pyramid of King Unas, west wall of the main corridor, Pyramid Text spell 317, sections 4-5:
      jj.n wnjs r mrw.f jm(j)w jdb ꜣgb(w) mḥt wrt
      r st ḥtpw wꜣḏt sḫwt jmt ꜣḫt
      Unas has come to his canals at the shore of the waters of the great flood,
      to the place of peace with green fields in the place where the sun rises.
  2. a pond or pool, especially an artifical one [since the Pyramid Texts]
  3. metal libation bowl or basin
  4. Misspelling of mw (water). [New Kingdom]
Usage notesEdit
The distinction between the abbreviated mr (canal, pond, bowl)
— and š (pool, lake, bowl)
— is not always clear.
Alternative formsEdit
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 3Edit

From Proto-Afro-Asiatic. Cognate with Proto-Semitic *mir(Vʔ)- (bull): compare Akkadian [script needed] (mīrtu, young cow), [script needed] (mīru, young bull), Hebrew מְרִיא (mərīʾ, fatted steer). Possible Cushitic cognates include Hadiyya mōr-â (bull), Mbugu ki-mole, ki-more (ox, bull), possible Omotic cognates include Wolaytta mārā (young bull), Yemsa omoru (bull), and possible Chadic cognates include Mafa maray (sacrificial bull), Mofu-Gudur maray (fattened bull), Mafa mari (bull).




  1. (fighting) bull [Middle Kingdom]
Alternative formsEdit
Derived termsEdit

Proper nounEdit



  1. (rare) Abbreviation of mr-wr (Mnevis). [Greco-Roman Period]

Etymology 4Edit

From Proto-Afro-Asiatic. Probable Berber cognates include Tazerwalt Tashelhit ta-märr-it (pain, agony), Tagargrent i-mur-ǝn (labour pains), and Kabyle u-mr-an (sorrows), a-mur (colic, stomachache), and a-mrir (embarrassment, great difficulty). Cushitic cognates include Oromo marar (to be sick), Baiso marni (to be sad), and Sidamo marar-s (to be sick). A likely Omotic cognate is Yemsa mer-o (illness).




  1. (intransitive) to be(come) ill, to be(come) sick or diseased
  2. (intransitive) to suffer, to (come to) be in pain
  3. (intransitive) to be(come) painful, to sting
  4. (intransitive) to be(come) harsh or fierce
Derived termsEdit




  1. ailment
  2. pain


  • Erman, Adolf; Grapow, Hermann (1926-1961) Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache, Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, →ISBN
  • Faulkner, Raymond (1962) A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian, Oxford: Griffith Institute, →ISBN
  • Takács, Gábor (1999-2008) Etymological Dictionary of Egyptian, volume 3, Leiden: Brill, →ISBN, page 361–372, 392–395
  • Allen, James (2013) A New Concordance of the Pyramid Texts, volume III, Providence: Brown University, PT 317.4–5 (Pyr. 508a–508b), Unas
  • Allen, James (2010) Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs, revised second edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 213
  • Hoch, James (1997) Middle Egyptian Grammar, Mississauga: Benben Publications, →ISBN, page 146