Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to the Mediterranean and enclosed by desert both to the east and to the west. This unique geography has been the basis of the development of Egyptian society since antiquity.
Egyptians, from GreekΑἰγύπτιοι, Aiguptioi, from Αἴγυπτος, Aiguptos "Egypt". The Greek name is derived from Late EgyptianHikuptah "Memphis", a corruption of the earlier Egyptian name Hat-ka-Ptah (ḥwt-k3-ptḥ), meaning "home of the ka (soul) of Ptah", the name of a temple to the god Ptah at Memphis. Strabo provided a folk etymology according to which Αἴγυπτος had evolved as a compound from Aἰγαίου ὑπτίωςAegaeou huptiōs, meaning "below the Aegean". In English, the noun "Egyptians" appears in the 14th century, in Wycliff's Bible, as Egipcions.
Copts (قبط, qibṭ, qubṭ), also a derivative of the Greek word Αἰγύπτιος, Aiguptios ("Egyptian"), that appeared under Muslim rule. After Copts in Egypt lost their majority status and Islam became the dominant religion in Egypt, the term became exclusively associated with Egyptian Christianity and Copts who are members of the Coptic Orthodox Church or Coptic Catholic Church, though references to native Muslims as Copts are attested until the Mamluk period.
Maṣreyyīn, the modern Egyptian name, which comes from the ancient Semitic name for Egypt and originally connoted "civilization" or "metropolis".Classical ArabicMiṣr (Egyptian ArabicMaṣr) is directly cognate with the Biblical HebrewMitsráyīm, meaning "the two straits", a reference to the predynastic separation of Upper and Lower Egypt. Edward William Lane writing in the 1820s, said that Egyptians commonly called themselves El-Maṣreyyīn 'the Egyptians', Ewlad Maṣr 'the Children of Egypt' and Ahl Maṣr 'the People of Egypt'. He added that the Turks "stigmatized" the Egyptians with the name Ahl-Far'ūn or the 'People of the Pharaoh'.
𓂋𓍿𓀂𓁐𓏥𓈖𓆎𓅓𓏏𓊖 / rmṯ n Km.t, the native Egyptian name of the people of the Nile Valley, literally 'People of Kemet' (i.e., Egypt). In antiquity, it was often shortened to simply Rmṯ or "the people". The name is vocalized as rem/en/kī/miⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ in the (Bohairic) Coptic stage of the language, meaning "Egyptian" (ni/rem/en/kīmiⲛⲓⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ with the plural definite article, "the Egyptians").