I. noun 1. (also banyan tree) — an Indian fig tree, the branches of which produce wide-ranging aerial roots which later become accessory trunks.● Ficus benghalensis, family Moraceae. 2. a loose flannel undergarment worn in India.
– origin late 16th cent.: from Portuguese, from Gujarati vāṇiyo ‘man of the trading caste’, from Sanskrit. Originally denoting a Hindu merchant, the term was applied, by Europeans in the mid 17th cent., to a tree under which such traders had built a pagoda.