Probably from Middle Chinese compound 蜜柑. Compare modern Mandarin reading mìgān.
蜜柑 (hiragana みっかん, romaji mikkan)
- (obsolete) a mandarin orange, Citrus unshiu (fruit)
- (obsolete) citrus fruit in general
/mikkan/ → /mikan/
Shift in pronunciation from mikkan above. This change occurred sometime after the 1603 publication of the Japanese-Portuguese Nippo Jisho, which still lists the reading as mikkan.
蜜柑 (hiragana みかん, katakana ミカン, romaji mikan)
- a mandarin orange, Citrus unshiu (fruit)
- citrus fruit in general
As with many terms that name organisms, this term is often spelled in katakana in biological contexts, as ミカン.
- ^ 1603, 日葡辞書 (Nippo Jisho): Vocabulario da Lingoa de Iapam (in Portuguese), Nagasaki: Society of Jesus
- ^ 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, ISBN 4-385-13905-9