A country of southwest Asia on the eastern Mediterranean coast. Ancient Syria also included Lebanon, most of present-day Israel and Jordan, and part of Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Settled c. 2100 BC by Amorites, the region was later conquered by Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. Islam was introduced in the seventh century by Muslim Arab conquerors. Syria was a province of the Ottoman Empire from 1516 until 1918, and the part comprising present-day Syria and Lebanon became a French League of Nations mandate in 1920. Separated from Lebanon by the French, Syria achieved full independence in 1946. In 1958 it merged with Egypt to form the United Arab Republic, which disintegrated in 1961. Damascus is the capital and the largest city.
Syri·an adj. & n.
(click for a larger image)Syria
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.