Persian god of light, 1550s, from L., from Gk. Mithras
, from Avestan Mithra-
, from Indo-Iranian *mitram
"contract," whence *mitras
"contractual partner, friend," conceptualized as a god, or, according to Kent, first the epithet of a divinity and eventually his name; from PIE base *mei-
"to bind" (see mitre
). Related to Skt. Mitrah
, a Vedic deity associated with Varuna. "His name is one of the earliest Indic words we possess, being found in clay tablets from Anatolia dating to about 1500 B.C." [Calvert Watkins, "Dictionary of Indo-European Roots," 2000].