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taipan1

[tahy-pan]
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noun
  1. (in China) the head or owner of a foreign business establishment.
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Origin of taipan1

1895–1900; < dialectal Chinese (compare Guangdong dial. daaih-bāan), akin to Chinese dàbǎn ( great + bǎn company, class)

taipan2

[tahy-pan]
noun
  1. a highly venomous elapid snake, Oxyuranus scutellatus, of New Guinea and northern Australia, that grows to a length of from 10 to 12 feet (3.1 to 3.7 meters).
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Origin of taipan2

1930–35; < Wik-Munkan (Australian Aboriginal language spoken around the Archer River, N Queensland), recorded as tay-pan
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for taipan

Historical Examples

  • He was the biggest Taipan on the island, and quite the nicest.

    From Sea to Sea

    Rudyard Kipling

  • I sought a Taipan, which means the head of an English trading firm.

    From Sea to Sea

    Rudyard Kipling


British Dictionary definitions for taipan

taipan1

noun
  1. a large highly venomous elapid snake, Oxyuranus scutellatus, of NE Australia
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Word Origin

C20: from a native Australian language

taipan2

noun
  1. the foreign head of a business in China
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Word Origin

C19: from dialectal form of Chinese tai great + ban company, class
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012