Chinese History

Why does Sino Mean Chinese?

Sino means China and the East. It can only be used as a prefix, instead of being used alone. The Western countries usually use Sino as a conjunction to express the meaning of China. For example, Sino-US means China and the United States, and Sino-Japan means China and Japan.

Then why is China called Sino? In this article, we will dig out the answer together.

1. Why does Sino mean China?

Sino, as the appellation of China, is generated from the ancient Greece. As for the reason why is it so, it is said that it may lies three points. First is because the pronunciation of Sino is similar to that of 秦(qín) (click to learn The history of Qin Dynasty). The second saying refers to the ancient tribes of Mongolia Rongdi. The third story is related to Chinese silk. As the sound of silk in Chinese (丝绸sī chóu) sound like Sino.

2. Is it ralated to Japan?

The answer is yes. It is said that the ancient India called China as Cina. And some monks directly translated China as 支那(zhī nà) according to the sound of Cina when they were translating Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures. And then Japanese started to call China as 支那, which changed gradually to be an ironic name to China.

3. Why does China government use Sino when it is ironic?

No matter what kind of ironic meaning Sino had in the history time, it is still originated from China. It is a part of Chinese culture and history. We will not abandon it due to some certain country. Just think about it: if someone called you an idiot one day, will you change you name? That is the same with Sino China.

4. Combinations related to Sino

Sino-Japanese war
Sino-Tibetan Linguistics
Sino-British Joint Declaration
Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty
SINO Certification Center

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One comment
  1. Paul TIFFANY

    This definition leaves out the one most relevant explanation: in Latin there is no”ch” sound, so Cina was the name used for China, which morphed into Sino.

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