The word chickpea was first used in the 1542 Bibliotheca Eliotae, which was one of the first major English language dictionaries. Then, it was spelled chiche pease, and on previous occasions it also took forms like ciche-peasen, chich pea, and chice peasen, among other alterations. I've explained the etymology of pea in the past, but I really want to get in depth with the chick part. It has nothing to do with fowl; in fact, it comes from the Old French word chiche, which also meant "chickpea" (so the pea part is entirely redundant). That's from Latin cicer, meaning "pea" in general, and probably ultimately derives from a Proto-Indo-European word sounding like kiker and meaning "pale". Chickpea as one word is more than ten times as used than with either a hyphen or a space, and it's about twice as used as garbanzo.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a rising junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.