A 1682 published Italian map showing the "Kingdom of the Niuche" (i.e., Nǚzhēn) or the "Kin (Jin) Tartars", who "have occupied and are at present ruling China", north of Liaodong
The initial Khitan form of the name was said to be Lüzhen. The variant Nrjo-tsyin (now Nüzhen, whence English Nurchen) appeared in the 10th century under the Liao dynasty. The Jurchens were also interchangeably known as the Nrjo-drik (now Nüzhi). This is traditionally explained as an effect of the Chinese naming taboo, with the character 真 being removed after the 1031 enthronement of Zhigu, Emperor Xingzong of Liao, because it appeared in the sinified form of his personal name. Aisin-Gioro Ulhicun, however, argues that this was a later folk etymology and the original reason was uncertainty among dialects regarding the name's final -n.
Jurchen is an anglicization of Jurčen, an attempted reconstruction of this unattested original form of the native name, which has been transcribed into Middle Chinese as Trjuwk-li-tsyin (竹里真)[a] and into Khitan small script as Julisen. The ethnonyms Sushen (Old Chinese: */siwk-[d]i[n]-s/) and Jizhen (稷真, Old Chinese: */tsək-ti[n]/) recorded in geographical works like the Classic of Mountains and Seas and the Book of Wei are possibly cognates. It was the source of Fra Mauro's Zorça and Marco Polo's Ciorcia, reflecting the Persian form of their name. Vajda considers that the Jurchens' name probably derives from the Tungusic words for "reindeer people" and is cognate with the names of the Orochs of Khabarovsk Province and the Oroks of Sakhalin. ("Horse Tungus" and "Reindeer Tungus" are still the primary divisions among the Tungusic cultures.)
Janhunen argues that these records already reflect the Classical Mongolian plural form of the name, recorded in the Secret History as J̌ürčät, and further reconstructed as *Jörcid, The modern Mongolian form is Jürčid whose medial -r- does not appear in the later Jurchen Jucen or Jušen (Jurúna: )[b] or Manchu Jushen. In Manchu, this word was more often used to describe the serfs—though not slaves—of the free Manchu people, who were themselves mostly the former Jurchens. To describe the historical people who founded the Jin dynasty, they reborrowed the Mongolian name as Jurcit.