old name of a region and French colony in southern Vietnam, from French Cochin-China, from Portuguese corruption of Ko-chen, which is of uncertain meaning. Properly a name of a division of the old kingdom of Annam, it was taken as the general name of the region.  The China was added to distinguish it from the town and port of Cochin in southwest India, the name of which is Tamil, perhaps from koncham "little," in reference to the river there. Related: Cochin-Chinese.

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