The name Khanbaliq comes from the Mongolian and Uyghur words khan and balik ("town", "permanent settlement"): "City of the Khan". It was actually in use among the Eastern Turks and Mongols before the fall of Zhongdu, in reference to the Jin emperors. It is traditionally written as Cambaluc in English, after its spelling in Rustichello's retelling of Marco Polo's travels. (The Travels also uses the spellings Cambuluc and Kanbalu.)
The name Dadu, formerly romanized as Ta-Tu, is the pinyin transcription of the Chinese name 大都, meaning "Grand Capital". The Mongols also called the city Daidu, which was a transliteration directly from the Chinese. In modern Chinese, it is referred to as Yuan Dadu to distinguish it from other cities which have borne similar names.