"cotton cloth printed with flowers or other colorful patterns," 1719, plural of chint (1610s), from Hindi chint, from Sanskrit chitra-s "clear, bright" (compare cheetah). The plural (the more common form of the word in commercial use) came to be regarded as singular by late 18c., and for unknown reason shifted -s to -z; perhaps after quartz. Disparaging sense, from the commonness of the fabric, is first suggested by 1851 (in George Eliot's use of chintzy).
The term chintz-work is descriptive of that kind of calico-printing which is employed for beds, window-curtains, and other furniture, and it differs more in the richness and variety of the colours, than in any other circumstance. [Abraham Rees, "Cyclopaedia," 1819]
updated on November 13, 2017