The OED gives three alternative spellings, pidgin, pigeon, and pidjin. All three refer to a form of simplified English originally spoken by Chinese dockworkers in an effort to communicate with their English-speaking customers. It dates from around 1850 and its etymology derives from the Chinese pronunciation of the English word business. Quite why or how the Chinese pronounce the word business as ‘pidgin’ has never been explained, but this etymology is generally accepted. Although Chinese Pidgin was probably the first, regions all over the world developed their own versions of pidgin, based on whichever European language they came into contact with. So there is Pidgin Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, etc. Thus, the current definition of pidgin is a simplified means of communication developed between two or more language groups who combine elements from two or more native languages.