Its name is derived from the Hittite Adaniya of Kizzuwatna. In the Iliad of Homer, the city is called Adana. In Hellenistic times, it was known as Antiochia in Cilicia (Greek: Αντιόχεια της Κιλικίας) or Antiochia ad Sarum (Greek: Αντιόχεια η προς Σάρον; "Antiocia on the Sarus"). The editors of The Helsinki Atlas tentatively identify Adana as Quwê (as contained in cuneiform tablets), the Neo-Assyrian capital of Quwê province. The name also appears as Coa, and may be the place referred to in the Bible, where King Solomon obtained horses. (I Kings 10:28; II Chron. 1:16).
The name of the city is believed to have come from a legend that Adanus and Sarus, two sons of Uranus, came to a place near the Seyhan River where they built Adana.
Alternatively, it is believed that Adad (Tesup), the name of the Hittite Thunder God that lived in the forest was given to the region. The Hittites ideas, names and writings have been found in the area so this is a strong possibility. The theory goes that since the Thunder God brought so much rain and this rain in turn brought such great abundance in this particular region, this god was loved and respected by its inhabitants and, in his honor, the region was called the 'Uru Adaniyya'; in other words 'The Region of Ada'.
Adana's name has had many different versions over the centuries: Adanos, Ta Adana, Uru Adaniya, Erdene, Edene, Ezene, Batana, Atana, Azana, Addane.