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I.terra-firma, the land, as opp. to the sea, Hom., Hes., etc.; κατ᾽ ἤπειρον by land, Hdt.; μήτ᾽ ἐν θαλάττῃ μήτ᾽ ἐν ἠπείρῳ Ar.:— hence in Od., even an island is called ἤπειρος.
II.the mainland of Western Greece, opp. to the neighbouring islands (afterwards called Ἤπειρος as n. pr.), Od.:—then, generally, the mainland, Hdt., attic
III.later, a continent: Asia was esp. called the Continent, Hdt., etc.; also Europe, Aesch.; whence Soph. speaks of δισσαὶ ἤπειροι, i. e. Europe and Asia.
deriv. uncertain

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