From Portuguese baniano, from Arabic بَنِيَان (baniyān), from Gujarati વાણિયો (vāṇiyo, “merchant”), from Sanskrit वाणिज (vāṇijá), from earlier वणिज् (vaṇíj, “merchant, trader”). The name appears to have been first bestowed popularly on a famous tree of this species growing near Bandar Abbas, under which the Bannians or Hindu traders settled at that port, had built a little pagoda.
banyan (plural banyans)
- An Indian trader, merchant, cashier, or money changer.
- A tropical Indian fig tree, Ficus benghalensis, that has many aerial roots.
- A type of loose gown worn in India.
- (India) A vest; an undershirt; a singlet.
- (Britain, Naval slang, dated) A camping excursion on shore, to give a ship's crew a break from shipboard routine.
- (tropical Indian fig tree): banyan tree