American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Variant of banyan.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A Hindu trader or merchant, especially of the province of Guzerat; one engaged in commerce generally, but more particularly one of the great traders of western India, as in the seaports of Bombay, Kurrachee, etc., who carry on a large trade with the interior of Asia by means of caravans, and with Africa by vessels. They form a class of the caste Vaisya, wear a peculiar dress, and are strict in the observance of fasts and in abstaining from the use of flesh.
- n. In British India, originally, a cotton shirt worn by the Hindus. Hence— Any undergarment, even of the elastic web made in England.
- n. Any loose or easy dress worn in the house, especially one modeled on the native dress of the Hindus.
- n. An East Indian fig-tree, Ficus Bengalensis, natural order Urticaceæ, remarkable for the area which individual trees cover through the development of roots from the branches, which descend to the ground and become trunks for the support and nourishment of the extending crown. It is extensively planted throughout India as a shade-tree, and is of rapid growth, frequently covering a space 100 yards in diameter and reaching a height of 80 or 100 feet. The fruit is of the size of a cherry. As in some other tropical species of the genus, the seeds rarely germinate in the ground, but usually in the crowns of palms or other trees, where they have been deposited by birds. Roots are sent down to the ground, and they embrace and finally kill the nurse-palm. The tree furnishes lac, the bark is made into cordage, the milky juice yields a bird-lime, and the leaves are fashioned into platters. The wood is soft and of little value.
- n. An Indian trader, merchant, cashier, or money changer.
- n. A type of loose gown worn in India.
- n. A banyan (tree).
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A Hindu trader, merchant, cashier, or money changer.
- n. A man's loose gown, like that worn by the Banians.
- n. (Bot.) The Indian fig. See Banyan.
- n. a loose fitting jacket; originally worn in India
- n. East Indian tree that puts out aerial shoots that grow down into the soil forming additional trunks
- From Portuguese banian, from Arabic بنيان, from Gujarati વાણિયો (vāṇiyo, "merchant"), from Sanskrit वाणिज (vāṇijá), from earlier वणिज् (vaṇíj, "merchant, trader"). (Wiktionary)
“In Gayasira is a banian, which is called by the Brahmanas the Eternal banian, for the food that is offered there to the Pitris becometh eternal, O exalted one!”
“In Gayasira is a banian, which is called by the Brahmanas the _Eternal_ banian, for the food that is offered there to the Pitris becometh eternal, O exalted one!”
“I found him in his night-cap and banian, which is his ordinary dress in that retired part of the country.”
The Westover Manuscripts: Containing the History of the Dividing Line Betwixt Virginia and North Carolina; A Journey to the Land of Eden, A. D. 1733; and A Progress to the Mines. Written from 1728 to 1736, and Now First Published
“Englishman, properly speaking, acts by himself, that he must be made responsible for that person called his banian, -- for the power he either uses under him, or the power he has acquired over him.”
“From that moment forward it is not the Englishman, it is the black banian, that is the master.”
“As we went north the country became very lovely; many new trees appeared; the grass was green, and often higher than the wagons; the vines festooned the trees, among which appeared the real banian”
“The Ficus Indica tree, under which we now sat, had very large leaves, but showed its relationship to the Indian banian by sending down shoots toward the ground.”
“He had made the walls of his compound, or court-yard, of branches of the banian, which, taking root, had grown to be a live hedge of that tree.”
“Both islands and banks are covered with forest, and most of the trees on the brink of the water send down roots from their branches like the banian, or ‘Ficus Indica’.”
“At this village there is a real Indian banian-tree, which has spread itself over a considerable space by means of roots from its branches; it has been termed, in consequence, “the tree with legs” (more oa maotu).”
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Terms that call to mind British India.
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