The word "Punjab" is made up of two Persian words 'Panj' and 'Aab'. Panj means five and Aab means water. This name was probably given to this land possibly in an era when this region came into close contact with Persia. The Punjab was known as land of five rivers because of the five rivers that ran through it.

They are Indus, Ravi, Beas, Sutlaj and Ghaggar. Prior to Persian period this region was known by different names at different times. Probably, at the height of its glory it was known as Sapta Sindhu, land of the seven rivers, namely Sindhu (Indus), Vitasta (Jehlum), Asuhi (chenab), Purshin (Ravi), Vipasa (Beas), Satadru (Sutleg) and Saruri (Saraswati). The last one is a dried up stream now and its traces are found in the present seasonal streams that flow near Pehowa in Haryana. During Greek occupation, the territory had shrunk into the area covering the five rivers.