Asian country name, 1550s (earliest European usage is in Italian, by Marco Polo), of uncertain origin, probably ultimately from Sanskrit Cina-s "the Chinese," perhaps from Qin dynasty, which ruled 3c. B.C.E. Latinized as Sina, hence Sinologist. The Chinese word for the country is Chung-kuo (Wade-Giles), Zhongguo (Pinyin).
"porcelain imported from China," 1650s, short for China-ware(1630s), China dishes (1570s), etc.; from the country name (see China). Used of porcelain and porcelain-ware generally. China-shop is attested from 1750.
updated on March 15, 2020