also chick-pea, 1712, a false singular of chich-pease (1540s), earlier simply chich (late 14c.), cich, from Old French chiche "chick-pea" (13c.), from Latin cicer "pea," which is of uncertain origin, but with likely cognates in Greek kikerroi "pale," Armenian sisern "chick-pea," Albanian thjer "lentil." The Latin plural, cicera, is also the source of Italian cece and was borrowed into Old High German as chihhra (German Kichererbse).
The English word was altered after 17c. on the model of French pois chiche , and folk-etymologized as chick-. For second element, see pease.