[mes-uh-puh-tey-mee-uh] /ˌmɛs ə pəˈteɪ mi ə/

an ancient region in W Asia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers: now part of Iraq.
a region of SW Asia between the lower and middle reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers: site of several ancient civilizations

ancient name for the land that lies between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (in modern Iraq), from Greek mesopotamia (khora), literally “a country between two rivers,” from fem. of mesopotamos, from mesos “middle” (see medial (adj.)) + potamos “river” (see potamo-).

In 19c. the word sometimes was used in the sense of “anything which gives irrational or inexplicable comfort to the hearer,” based on the story of the old woman who told her pastor that she “found great support in that comfortable word Mesopotamia” [“Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable,” 1870]. The place was called Mespot (1917) by British soldiers serving there in World War I. Related: Mesopotamian.
Mesopotamia [(mes-uh-puh-tay-mee-uh)]

A region of western Asia, in what is now Iraq, known as the “cradle of civilization.” Western writing first developed there, done with sticks on clay tablets. Agricultural organization on a large scale also began in Mesopotamia, along with work in bronze and iron (see Bronze Age and Iron Age). Governmental systems in the region were especially advanced (see Babylon and Hammurabi). A number of peoples lived in Mesopotamia, including the Sumerians, Akkadians, Hittites, and Assyrians.

the country between the two rivers (Heb. Aram-naharaim; i.e., “Syria of the two rivers”), the name given by the Greeks and Romans to the region between the Euphrates and the Tigris (Gen. 24:10; Deut. 23:4; Judg. 3:8, 10). In the Old Testament it is mentioned also under the name “Padan-aram;” i.e., the plain of Aram, or Syria (Gen. 25:20). The northern portion of this fertile plateau was the original home of the ancestors of the Hebrews (Gen. 11; Acts 7:2). From this region Isaac obtained his wife Rebecca (Gen. 24:10, 15), and here also Jacob sojourned (28:2-7) and obtained his wives, and here most of his sons were born (35:26; 46:15). The petty, independent tribes of this region, each under its own prince, were warlike, and used chariots in battle. They maintained their independence till after the time of David, when they fell under the dominion of Assyria, and were absorbed into the empire (2 Kings 19:13).


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