Word Origin & History
"porcelain imported from China," 1579, from the country name (1555), probably ult. from Skt. Cina-s "the Chinese" (earliest European usage is in It., by Marco Polo), perhaps from Qin dynasty, which ruled 3c. B.C.E. Latinized as Sina, hence sinologist. The Chinese word for the country is Chung-kuo, lit.
"the Middle Kingdom." Chinatown first attested 1857 in California.