1. a former kingdom and French protectorate along the E coast of French Indochina: now part of Vietnam.


  1. a former kingdom (3rd century–1428), empire (1428–1884), and French protectorate (1884–1945) of E Indochina: now part of Vietnam

old alternative name for Vietnam, from Chinese, literally “pacified south,” the name given to the old nation of Nam Viet by the Chinese after they conquered it 111 B.C.E. From an “peace” + nan “south.” It was discarded upon restoration of Viet independence in 939 C.E., but it stuck in Western geographies and was reapplied to the region c.1790 by the French.

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