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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Nile \Nile\ (n[imac]l), n. [L. Nilus, Gr. Nei^los.] The great river of Egypt. Nile bird. (Zo["o]l.)

  1. The wryneck. [Prov. Eng.]

  2. The crocodile bird.

    Nile goose (Zo["o]l.), the Egyptian goose. See Note under Goose, 2.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

one of the world's oldest surviving place names, from a Semitic root nahal "river." Unnamed in Old Testament, it is always merely "the river" (Hebrew yeor).


The Nile (, Eg. en-Nīl, Std. an-Nīl; , P(h)iaro; Ancient Egyptian: Ḥ'pī and Iteru; Biblical Hebrew: היאור, Ha-Ye'or) is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is 6,853 km (4,258 miles) long. The Nile is an "international" river as its water resources are shared by eleven countries, namely, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt. In particular, the Nile is the primary water source of Egypt and Sudan.

The Nile has two major tributaries, the White Nile and Blue Nile. The White Nile is considered to be the headwaters and primary stream of the Nile itself. The Blue Nile, however, is the source of most of the water and silt. The White Nile is longer and rises in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, with the most distant source still undetermined but located in either Rwanda or Burundi. It flows north through Tanzania, Lake Victoria, Uganda and South Sudan. The Blue Nile (, ʿĀbay) begins at Lake Tana in Ethiopia and flows into Sudan from the southeast. The two rivers meet just north of the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

The northern section of the river flows north almost entirely through the Sudanese desert to Egypt, then ends in a large delta and empties into the Mediterranean Sea. Egyptian civilization and Sudanese kingdoms have depended on the river since ancient times. Most of the population and cities of Egypt lie along those parts of the Nile valley north of Aswan, and nearly all the cultural and historical sites of Ancient Egypt are found along riverbanks.

In the ancient Egyptian language, the Nile is called Ḥ'pī or Iteru, meaning "river", represented by the hieroglyphs shown on the left (literally itrw, and ' waters' determinative). In Coptic, the words piaro (Sahidic) or phiaro (Bohairic) meaning "the river" (lit. p(h).iar-o "the.canal-great") come from the same ancient name.

The English name Nile and the Arabic names en-Nîl and an-Nîl both derive from the Latin and the Ancient Greek . Beyond that, however, the etymology is disputed. One possible etymology derives it from a SemiticNahal, meaning "river". The standard English names "White Nile" and "Blue Nile", to refer to the river's source, derive from Arabic names formerly applied only to the Sudanese stretches which meet at Khartoum.

Nile (band)

Nile is an American technical death metal band from Greenville, South Carolina, United States, formed in 1993. Their music and lyrics are inspired by Ancient Egyptian/ Near Eastern mysticism, history, religion, and ancient art, as well as the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

Nile (disambiguation)

The Nile, in northeast Africa, is one of the world's longest rivers.

Nile may also refer to:

Nile (TV series)

Nile is a 2004 BBC Television documentary that tells the history and natural history of the Nile.

Nile (singer)

Nile (born Jenée Grevious) is an American singer. In 2002 she released her debut album, Born. She listed family, spirituality and nature as influences in her music. Her music has been described as Bristolian and may be thought of as trip hop.

Usage examples of "nile".

At the stated season of the melting of the snows in Armenia, the River Mygdonius, which divides the plain and the city of Nisibis, forms, like the Nile, an inundation over the adjacent country.

While he scoured the land along the Nile, behind him the railhead reached Akasha and his rudimentary camp was transformed into an impregnable fortress and staging station, guarded by artillery and Maxim machine-gun detachments.

In his Nile green frock coat, he looked like a particularly foppish frog, thought Amy disgustedly.

Mountain Lion up the valley of the Nile, until they came to el Baban, The Gates, and found the Saracen host drawn up for battle in the gut of the low sandy hills.

They were intoxicated by his wealth and power: his treasury, the Beit el Mai, held gold, jewels and millions in specie, the spoils of his conquests and the sack of the principal cities of the Nile.

Sometimes he assisted the officer of the Intelligence Department, in interviewing fugitives who had arrived from Berber and other points on the river, from Kordofan, or from villages on the White Nile.

Diocletian, on his side, opened the campaign in Egypt by the siege of Alexandria, cut off the aqueducts which conveyed the waters of the Nile into every quarter of that immense city, and rendering his camp impregnable to the sallies of the besieged multitude, he pushed his reiterated attacks with caution and vigor.

A vessel of uncommon strength and capaciousness was provided to convey this enormous weight of granite, at least a hundred and fifteen feet in length, from the banks of the Nile to those of the Tiber.

Sao in the neighborhood of Lake Chad, there is both an end to the civilizing trail which had led from the valley of the Nile and the beginning of another civilization.

Red Sea to the Nile, and had descended that river as far as Alexandria, it was poured, without delay, into the capital of the empire.

Nile for an advance upon Berber was far less formidable than it would have been, had it been led forward against Merawi and Dongola directly after the capture of Metemmeh.

Trench heard of a man slipping out from Wadi Halfa, crossing the Nile and wandering with the assumed manner of a lunatic southwards, starving and waterless, until one day he was snapped up by a Mahdist caravan and dragged to Dongola as a spy.

In order to do fieldwork he needed a competent dragoman, or guide and interpreter, who could oversee his thieving workmen and hand out baksheesh up and down the Nile.

It extended from Karnak to Luxor and, turning in a vast loop at the Nile front, countermarched over the dromos and ended at the tremendous white-walled temple of Amen.

This was Niles Zarratt, the promoter who was raising funds for Durand to continue with his robot experiments.