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”), also Proto-Slavic *skala (“rock, cliff”)), perhaps via a Dacian cognate which meant “mountain”, “rock”, or “rugged” (compare Proto-Germanic *skarpaz (whence sharp), Lithuanian kar̃pas (“cut, hack, notch”), Latvian cìrpt (“to shear, clip”)). Compare also archaic Polish karpa (“rugged irregularities, underwater obstacles/rocks, rugged roots or trunks”), Romansch crap (“stone”). Alternatively, the name may come from Proto-Indo-European *kʷerp- (“to turn”) (whence wharf and Ancient Greek καρπός (karpós, “wrist”)), perhaps referring to the way the mountain range bends or veers in an L-shape.
Carpathians pl (plural only)
- A large mountainous system in Central Europe, mainly in Transylvania (Romania) and the Polish (Silesian)-Slovak border region.