Last modified on 30 October 2014, at 03:11

taipan

See also: taïpan and tāipán

EnglishEdit

PronunciationEdit

Etymology 1Edit

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From Cantonese 大班 (daai6 baan1, big shot, rich businessman), originally as taepan.[1] Related to tycoon, from Japanese 大君 (taikun) – the first half of both comes from the Chinese root (big, great).

Alternative formsEdit

NounEdit

taipan (plural taipans)

  1. A foreign businessman in China; a tycoon. [from 19th c.]
    • 1922, W. Somerset Maugham, "The Taipan":
      Of course it was very sad, but the taipan could hardly help a smile when he thought how many of these young fellows he had drunk underground.
    • 1977, John Le Carré, The Honourable Schoolboy, Folio Society 2010, p. 438:
      The British taipans stood in one sodden circle with their womenfolk, like bored officers at a garrison get-together.
Usage notesEdit

Relatively narrow usage, and somewhat dated (early/mid 20th century); primarily known outside of China due to use in fiction set in Hong Kong, notably The Taipan (1922) by Somerset Maugham and Tai-Pan (1966) by James Clavell. Even in Hong Kong, the more globally widespread (and distantly related) tycoon is more common today.

Related termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

An inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus)
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From the name of the Thaypan tribe of Aboriginal people of central Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, Australia.

NounEdit

taipan (plural taipans)

  1. Any venomous elapid snake of the genus Oxyuranus, found in Australia and New Guinea. [from 20th c.]
TranslationsEdit
Derived termsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, 1989

AnagramsEdit