Arab is a city in Marshall and Cullman counties in the northern part of the U.S. state of Alabama, located 10 miles (16 km) from Guntersville Lake and Guntersville Dam, and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 8,050.
What is now Arab was established by Stephen Tuttle Thompson in the 1840s, and was originally known as Thompson's Village. The current name of the town was an unintentional misspelling by the U.S. Postal Service in 1882 of the city's intended name, taken from Arad Thompson, the son of the town founder, who had applied for a post office that year. "Arad" was one of three names sent to the Postal Service for consideration, the others being "Ink" and "Bird". Arab has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names.
Arab was incorporated in 1892.
As late as 1990, Arab was a sundown town, with a sign warning African Americans not to stay in Arab after dark and, historically, even barring them during the day. Ku Klux Klan material has been disseminated multiple times in Arab in recent years. While Alabama is 26% black, in the 2000 census 0.18% of the population of Arab was black.
Arab is located on top of Brindlee Mountain at 34°19′40″N 86°29′55″W (34.327863, -86.498613). The city is primarily in southern Marshall County; a small portion extends south into Cullman County. U.S. Route 231 runs north-to-south through Arab, and State Route 69 runs east-to-west, through the city's business district.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.1 square miles (34.0 km2), of which 14.0 square miles (36.3 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 1.02%, is water.