By Jirair Tutunjian, Toronto, Ontario 18 June 2021
At least a dozen historians, going back to Greek Strabo, have advanced contradictory theories about the origin of the word “Armenia”. Three of the more popular theories are that it derives from the name of King Aram/Armenag or it means brave man (Ari is brave and man is “mart” in Armenian) or derives from the name of the Armenia’s main goddess (Ar).
For millennia and no matter how far from Armenia they have lived, Armenians have been in love with the “AR” sound. While historians and etymologists continue to argue about the etymology of “Armenia”, let’s look at how pervasive “AR” is in Armenian toponyms, in personal names, and in regular words.
PLACE NAMES: Armenia, Ararat, Arakadz, Arax, Aradzani, Ardvin, Ardahan, Armavir, Ardashad, Arpa, Ardni, Artsakh, Aruni, Arua, Aramali, Artos, Arhi, Aria, Aratta, Arazu, etc.
PERSONAL NAMES: Aram, Ardavazt, Ardashesh, Ardzvi, Ardzvik, Aramais, Ari, Armen, Aromas, Arevig, Arhu, Arek, Arshalouys, Arousyag, Arpine, Arpiar, Argishdi, Ara, Arameh, Aramu, Arshag, Ardzruni, Areguni, Arin, Arsham, Artin, Artsn, Arabuni (goddess), Ardag, Ardni, Aramoor, Arshavir, Aramazt, Armine, Nv-art, etc.
“ER” PLACE NAMES (ER is a variation of AR): Erebuni, Eraskh, Erzincan, Erzroum, Erita, Eriza, etc.
REGULAR WORDS: Ardzat, Arekag, Arev, Artsan, Artsag, Artsakank, Arahed, Arou, Arouyk, Armad, Arak, Arakasdanav, Arkounik, Arpounk, Aroghch, Aryoun, Ar, Arhesd, Arvest, Armav, Artyunk, Arkelk, Arach, Artsag, Armoug, Arch, Ard (two meanings), Arevorti, Ardou, Arou, Arka, Aryoudz, Artar, Arjani, Arouyk, Ardziv, Arshav, Argadz, Arned, Arty, Arhasarag, Arteunk, Arvartsan, Ardonel, Ardarots, etc.
While it’s relatively easy to determine the etymology of Armenian place names, one needs Prof. Hrachia Adjarian’s books on word roots to assay the reason for the plenitude of regular words which start with AR, and learn their derivation.
P.S. The Armenian AR (sun god) has its equivalents in the ancient Egyptian RA sun god and the Hindu Ravi.
The above list—in all categories—is not comprehensive.