1369, from O.Fr. satin (14c.), perhaps from Arabic (atlas) zaytuni, lit. "(satin) from Zaitun," a Chinese city, perhaps modern Tsinkiang in Fukien province, southern China, which was a port in the Middle Ages. The form of the word perhaps influenced in Fr. by L. seta "silk." OED finds the Arabic connection etymologically untenable and takes the Fr. word straight from Latin.