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1712, false singular back-formation from chich-pease (1540s), from French pois chiche, from Latin cicer "pea," of uncertain origin, but with likely cognates in Greek kikerroi "pale," Armenian sisern "chick-pea," Albanian thjer "lentil." For second element, see pease. The Latin plural, cicera, is also the source of Italian cece and was borrowed into Old High German as chihhra (German Kichererbse).