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Borrowed from Portuguese China, from Persian چین‎ from Middle Persian 𐭰𐭩𐭭‎ (čīn, “China”), from Sanskrit चीन (cīna, “the Chinese; China”) of uncertain etymology. It is usually thought to be derived from 秦 (qín, “Qin”), Middle Chinese: 秦 (MC d͡ziɪn), Old Chinese: 秦 (OC *zin), the westernmost ancient Chinese state, but other theories have been proposed, including the derivation from 晉/晋 (jìn, “Jin”), Middle Chinese: 晉 (MC t͡siɪnH), Old Chinese: 晉 (OC *ʔsins), 荊/荆 (jīng, “Jing”), or the Zina of 夜郎 (Yèláng, “Yelang”).


(UK, US) enPR: chī’nə, IPA(key): /ˈt͡ʃaɪnə/, [ˈt͡ʃ(ʰ)aɪ̯nə]

Proper noun

  • A nation or civilization occupying the country around the Yellow, Yangtze, and Pearl Rivers in East Asia, taken as a whole under its various dynasties.
  • The People’s Republic of China, the principal state in this country.
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