Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Variant of banyan.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An Indian trader, merchant, cashier, or money changer.
  • n. A type of loose gown worn in India.
  • n. A banyan (tree).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A Hindu trader, merchant, cashier, or money changer.
  • n. A man's loose gown, like that worn by the Banians.
  • n. The Indian fig. See Banyan.

from The 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.
  • 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.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • 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

Etymologies

From Portuguese banian, from Arabic بنيان, from Gujarati વાણિયો (vāṇiyo, "merchant"), from Sanskrit वाणिज (vāṇijá), from earlier वणिज् (vaṇíj, "merchant, trader"). (Wiktionary)

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