The first documented evidence of the term ceviche is from 1820, in the song «La Chicha», sung by Peruvian soldiers.
According to the Royal Spanish Academy, the word has the same etymology as the Spanish term escabeche, which derives from Mozarabic izkebêch, in turn descending from Andalusian Arabic assukkabáǧ, which also derives from Classical Arabic sakbāj (سكباج, meaning meat cooked in vinegar). It is ultimately from the unattested Middle Persian *sikbāg, from sik («vinegar»)and *bāg («soup»), which also yielded the Persian word sekbā (سکبا, a soup made with meat and vinegar). Further hypotheses base the origin of the term on escabeche, Spanish for pickle, or it is simply a variation of the word siwichi.
The name of the dish may be spelled variously as cebiche, ceviche, seviche
or sebiche, but the most common spelling in Peru is ceviche, with v which is an alternative spelling accepted by the Royal Spanish Academy. However, other local terms, such as cerbiche and serviche, are still used as variations to name the dish.