The term established itself in one way or the other in many different languages as early as the dark age. The question: why is that?
I thought it to be somewhat of a misnomer. After all, Yaakov had 12 children that formed the 12 tribes of Israel. Why is it that we are (pretty much) globally known after the fourth son?
Disclaimer: I've read an explanation on chabad.org which dwelled on the linguistic aspect of it, what the root meant in Hebrew and the like. But it didn't really answer this question.