Definition of banyan in English:

banyan

Line breaks: ban¦yan
Pronunciation: /ˈbanjən
 
/
(also banian)

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
    More example sentences
    • The monument is a massive flagpole entwined with the trunk and branches of a symbolic banyan tree forged in steel.
    • Then it scampered off up the aerial roots of a nearby banyan tree.
    • A porter stops to rest under the shade of a huge banyan tree, its trunk twisting out of the earth and its umbrella-like branches arching over a granite stairway.
  • 2A loose flannel undergarment worn in India.
    More example sentences
    • In their saris, salwar kameez, kurtas, t-shirts, trousers, lunghis and banians, people from Assam to Kerala, from Gujarat to Jharkhand, were gathering in Mumbai for the World Social Forum.
    • In contrast to more reserved garments like the banyan, the kilt became a symbol of a rough-hewn paradise.
    • Also of interest is a rare crimson damask banyan - an early precursor of the dressing gown - of early 18 th-century silk, worn by Thomas Severne, Gentleman of the Bed Chamber to King William III.

Origin

late 16th century: 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 century, to a tree under which such traders had built a pagoda.

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