• synonyms


[ban-yuh n]
See more synonyms for banian on Thesaurus.com
  1. banyan.
Show More


or ban·ian

[ban-yuh n]
  1. Also called banyan tree. an East Indian fig tree, Ficus benghalensis, of the mulberry family, having branches that send out adventitious roots to the ground and sometimes cause the tree to spread over a wide area.
  2. Also bania, baniya. (in India)
    1. a Hindu trader or merchant of a particular caste, the rules of which forbid eating flesh.
    2. a loose shirt, jacket, or gown.
Show More

Origin of banyan

1590–1600; < Portuguese (perhaps < Arabic) < Gujarati vāṇiyo (singular) or vāṇiyā (plural) member of the merchant caste (compare Prakrit vāṇiaya, Sanskrit vāṇija trader); the tree is said to have taken its name from a particular tree of the species near which merchants had built a booth; source of final nasal uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for banian

Historical Examples

  • They reached Fiji, went on shore, and there stood the Banian tree.

    The Solomon Islands and Their Natives

    H. B. (Henry Brougham) Guppy

  • The Banian hospital at Surat is a most remarkable institution.

  • Was that the banian tree of which he had been warned by the old Byragee at Surroori?


    Philip Meadows Taylor

  • Banian days, days when no meat is served out to ships' crews.

    The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

    Edited by Rev. James Wood

  • The slopes on either hand are wooded, that of Banian to much the greatest extent.


    George Arbuthnot

British Dictionary definitions for banian


  1. a variant spelling of banyan
Show More



  1. a moraceous tree, Ficus benghalensis, of tropical India and the East Indies, having aerial roots that grow down into the soil forming additional trunks
  2. a member of the Hindu merchant caste of N and W India
  3. a loose-fitting shirt, jacket, or robe, worn originally in India
Show More

Word Origin

C16: from Hindi baniyā, from Sanskrit vānija merchant
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

Word Origin and History for banian



"Indian fig tree," 1630s, so called in reference to a tree on the Iranian coast of the Persian Gulf under which the Hindu merchants known as banians had built a pagoda. From Sanskrit vanija "merchant."

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper