China is the name of a country in East China as well as the name of a fine porcelain. The origin behind the name isn’t clear-cut. It may have originated from Persian čin چین (China) via Sanskrit Cīna (China) which may have originated from the name of the Qi 秦 (pr. chin) dynasty, the first imperial dynasty of China lasting from 221 to 207 BC. Other possible origins of Cīna include Jing 荆, Jin 晋, or from Yelang (an ancient political entity; the inhabitants of Yelang called themselves the zina).
China is also an Italian surname, a feminine form of Chino, which seems to have originated as a nickname for Franceschino, itself a diminutive of Francesco, the Italian form of Francis, the English form of Late Latin Franciscus meaning “Frenchman” which is derived from the name of a Germanic tribe known as the Franks, either meaning “free” or “free man”, though it may also be derived from Proto-Germanic *frankô meaning “spear, javelin”. As an English surname, China could have originated as an occupational name for someone who made china, or it could have originated as a locational name, from Middle English chine, referring to a steep ravine, from Middle English chin (crack, fissure, chasm) which ultimately derives from a PIE root word.
China (pr. chee-na) is also a Japanese female name with a variety of meanings depending on the kanji used:
- chi 千 “thousand” + na 菜 “greens; vegetables” (千菜);
- chi 千 “thousand” + na 愛 “love; affection” (千愛);
- chi 千 “thousand” + na 奈 “Nara; what” (千奈);
- chi 千 “thousand” + na 那 “what” (千那);
- chi 千 “thousand” + na 南 “south” (千南)
Written in hiragana it’s ちな. There are other meanings depending on the kanji used.
Origin: uncertain though likely Chinese; Proto-Indo-European, Japanese
- Chyna (English)