/ka thay"/, n. Literary or Archaic.China.[ < ML Cat(h)aya < Turkic; cf. Tatar Kïtai]
* * *Former name for China, especially northern China.The word is derived from Khitay, the name of a seminomadic people who dominated northern China in the 10th–12th century. By the time of Genghis Khan, the Mongols had begun referring to northern China as Kitai (still the Russian word for China). The name may have been introduced to Europe by returning Franciscan friars с 1254, but it was Marco Polo's Travels 50 years later that put Cathay's image before the European public.
* * *▪ medieval region, Chinaname by which North China was known in medieval Europe. The word is derived from Khitay (or Khitan), the name of a seminomadic people who left southeastern Mongolia in the 10th century CE to conquer part of Manchuria and northern China, which they held for about 200 years. By the time of Genghis Khan (died 1227), the Mongols had begun referring to North China as Kitai and South China as Mangi. Kitai is still the Russian word for China.Either Muslim merchants or two Franciscan friars who visited the ancient Mongol capital of Karakorum in 1246 and 1254 are thought to have introduced the name Cathay to Europe. But Marco Polo (Polo, Marco) (1254–1324), who journeyed to China almost 50 years later, was the one who really put the image of Cathay before the European public. His descriptions of a Cathay that possessed a far more sophisticated culture and technology than the contemporary West were circulated throughout medieval Europe. Following the collapse of Mongol power in the 14th century, European contact with China was lost, but stories of the country persisted. Christopher Columbus (Columbus, Christopher) and John Cabot (Cabot, John) thought they were heading toward Cathay in their voyages to the New World. In fact Columbus, who had a copy of Marco Polo's book with him, believed he had reached Mangi, which he described as contiguous to Cathay. It was not ascertained that China and Cathay were the same place until the Spanish Augustinian friar Marin de Rade, in 1575, and the Jesuit Matteo Ricci (Ricci, Matteo), in 1607, recorded the fact when they proved that China could be reached by following Marco Polo's land route across Central Asia.
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Cathay — is the Anglicized version of Catai and an alternative name for China in English. Catai was originally the name used for northern China during Marco Polo s time (he referred to southern China as Manji ). Catai itself derives from the word Khitan… … Wikipedia
Cathay — ou Catai était l ancien nom donné à la Chine en Asie occidentale et en Europe. Il fut popularisé en Occident par Marco Polo qui désigna sous ce nom la Chine du Nord dans son Livre des Merveilles. C est une transcription du nom Kitai ou Khitans,… … Wikipédia en Français
Cathay — Cathay, auch Cataya, Cathaia, Kathai oder Kitai und ähnlich, ist der alte, von Marco Polo in seinem Buch verwendete Name für China, insbesondere Nordchina. Die Bezeichnung leitet sich vom Reich der Kitan ab. Heute wird er als Namensbestandteil… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Cathay — Cathay, ND U.S. city in North Dakota Population (2000): 56 Housing Units (2000): 37 Land area (2000): 0.183090 sq. miles (0.474200 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.003658 sq. miles (0.009474 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.186748 sq. miles (0.483674 sq … StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places
Cathay, ND — U.S. city in North Dakota Population (2000): 56 Housing Units (2000): 37 Land area (2000): 0.183090 sq. miles (0.474200 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.003658 sq. miles (0.009474 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.186748 sq. miles (0.483674 sq. km) FIPS… … StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places
Cathay — Ca*thay , n. China; an old name for the Celestial Empire, said have been introduced by Marco Polo and to be a corruption of the Tartar name for North China (Khitai, the country of the Khitans.) [1913 Webster] Better fifty years of Europe than a… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
Cathay — ou Catay (le) nom donné à la Chine par Marco Polo … Encyclopédie Universelle
Cathay — 1560s, poetic name for China, from M.L. Cataya, from Turk. Khitay, from Uighur Khitai, name of a Tatar dynasty that ruled Beijing 936 1122 … Etymology dictionary
Cathay — [ka thā′, kəthā′] [ML Cataya < Uighur Khitay, a Mongol people who ruled in Beijing (936 1122)] former name for CHINA … English World dictionary
Cathay — geographical name china an old name … New Collegiate Dictionary