There is no consensus on the etymology of the name of Khitan. There are basically three speculations. Feng Jiasheng argues that it comes from the Yuwen chieftains' names. Zhao Zhenji thinks that the term originated from Xianbei and means "a place where Xianbei had resided". Japanese scholar
Otagi Matsuo believes that Khitan's original name was "Xidan", which means "the people who are similar to the Xi people" or "the people who inhabit among the Xi people".
The term "Khitai" came to mean "China" in Turkic. It was introduced to medieval Europe by Islamic and Russian sources becoming "Cathay". In the modern era, the word is still used by the Uyghurs in China's Xinjiang region. The Han Chinese consider its use to be pejorative and the Chinese government has tried to ban its use.