Like its cognate / alternative form chinkapin, chinquapin is an alteration of chechinquamin / chincomen (the form found in early records), from an Algonquian language (sometimes said specifically to be from Powhatan). The final element is *mini (“berry, fruit”). Hewitt suggested that the first element was a word meaning "large, great" cognate to xinkw- (“big, large, great”).
chinquapin (plural chinquapins)
- Any of the trees in the genus Castanopsis.
- Any of the trees and shrubs in the genus Chrysolepis.
- A water-chinquapin, the water plant Nelumbo lutea, American lotus.
- The redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus).
- A species in the chestnut genus Castanea:
- A chinkapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii), a species of oak whose leaves resemble those of chestnut-genus chinquapins.
- ^ Bulletin 30 of the Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico: "Such forms as chincomen and chechinquamin, found in early writings, make plausible the supposition that a p was later substituted for an m in the last syllable of the word, which would then represent the widespread Algonquian radical min, 'fruit', 'seed'. The first component [...], according to Hewitt, is probably cognate with the Delaware chinqua, 'large', 'great'.