banyan (def 2).
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.
Also, bania, baniya.

a Hindu trader or merchant of a particular caste, the rules of which forbid eating flesh.
a loose shirt, jacket, or gown.

Historical Examples

She looked wildly from Bazuzu, who had lost all hope, to baniya, uneasy with impatience.
Istar of Babylon Margaret Horton Potter

If a baniya is on the other side of a river you should leave your bundle on this side, for fear he should steal it.
Introduction to the Science of Sociology Robert E. Park

As a druggist the baniya is in league with the doctor; he buys weeds at a nominal price and sells them very dear.
Introduction to the Science of Sociology Robert E. Park

Seeing her, baniya stepped swiftly forth, causing an exclamation to rise to her lips.
Istar of Babylon Margaret Horton Potter

“Let the slave of the Lady Ramûa guide me quickly to her,” observed baniya, with a grin at the distant moon.
Istar of Babylon Margaret Horton Potter

Startled by this large sum, the beggar held back, protesting the baniya would be a loser, whereupon more were offered.
Beast and Man in India John Lockwood Kipling

If a baniya is drowning you should not give him a hand: he is sure to have some base motive for drifting down stream.
Introduction to the Science of Sociology Robert E. Park

But Bazuzu had reckoned on baniya’s losing his head at the crucial instant; and this baniya did not do.
Istar of Babylon Margaret Horton Potter

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

“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.”


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