Possibly from the name of the Carpi, an ancient, probably Dacian, tribe living in the eastern Carpathian region of what is now Romania and the Moldova region. The name Carpates may ultimately be from the Proto-Indo-European root *(s)ker-, (compare Albanian karpë ("rock"), and also the Slavic word *skala ("rock, cliff")), perhaps via a Dacian cognate which meant mountain, rock, or rugged (compare Germanic root *skerp-, *skarpaz, Old Norse harfr (“harrow”), Middle Low German scharf and Modern High German Scherbe (“shard”), Old English scearp and English sharp, Lithuanian kar~pas "cut, hack, notch", Latvian cìrpt "to shear, clip"). The archaic Polish word karpa meant "rugged irregularities, underwater obstacles/rocks, rugged roots or trunks". The more common word skarpa means a sharp cliff or other vertical terrain. Otherwise, the name may instead come from Indo-European *kwerp (“to turn”), akin to Old English hweorfan (“to turn, change”) (English warp) and Greek καρπός (karpós, “wrist”), perhaps referring to the way the mountain range bends or veers in an L-shape. Thracian Greek Καρπάτῆς όρος (Karpátês óros), means "rocky mountain".
- A large mountainous system in Central Europe, mainly in Transylvania (Romania) and the Polish (Silesian)-Slovak border region.