banyan /ˈbanjən / banian


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.

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