banyan

noun
ban·​yan | \ ˈban-yən How to pronounce banyan (audio) , -ˌyan \
plural banyans

Definition of banyan

: a large fig tree (Ficus benghalensis) native to India and Pakistan that starts as an epiphyte and has spreading branches which send out aerial roots that grow down to the ground and form secondary trunks around the host tree The banyan kills the host tree by preventing its trunk from growing. After the host dies, the banyan continues to grow. Eventually, one tree appears to be an entire forest.National Geographic World

Illustration of banyan

Illustration of banyan

Examples of banyan in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On a young couple’s wedding day, a ghost that inhabits a banyan tree is overcome by the bride’s beauty and lusts furiously after her. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“Duvidha,” an Indian Independent Film That Contains Lessons for American Directors," 15 Apr. 2021 In July, the residents of the Bhose village in Sangli district had protected a 400-year-old banyan tree from getting axed for a state highway project. Supriya Dedgaonkar, Quartz India, "One Indian state is preserving its century-old trees with heritage tags," 17 Nov. 2020 Under the shade of a banyan tree, a group of worshipers recite Sanskrit mantras. Sameer Yasir, New York Times, "Gandhi’s Killer Evokes Admiration as Never Before," 4 Feb. 2020 Crews are on site at least weekly to maintain the landscape which consists largely of banyan, oak and palm trees as well as shrubbery. Eileen Kelley, sun-sentinel.com, "‘It can happen to anybody,’ neighbors say of woman killed by falling branch," 11 Nov. 2019 Upon arrival at our campsite in Hāna, go hiking through the surrounding bamboo forests and past century-old banyan trees to a stunning waterfall. National Geographic, "Hawai‘i Middle School Expedition," 10 Sep. 2019 Instead there will be outdoor baths in tubs hewn out of rock in view of distant rice terraces shimmering neat and domestic as putting greens, giving on to wild forests full of parrots and wood pigeons fat as ducks calling from banyan trees. Antonia Quirke, Condé Nast Traveler, "At Bali's COMO Shambhala, Skip the Wellness Fads in Favor of a True Reboot," 16 Nov. 2019 Upon arrival at our campsite in Hāna, go hiking through the surrounding bamboo forests and past century-old banyan trees to a stunning waterfall. National Geographic, "Hawai‘i Middle School Expedition," 10 Sep. 2019 Upon arrival at our campsite in Hāna, go hiking through the surrounding bamboo forests and past century-old banyan trees to a stunning waterfall. National Geographic, "Hawai‘i Middle School Expedition," 10 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'banyan.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of banyan

1638, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for banyan

earlier banyan Gujarati trader, from Portuguese banean, probably from Tamil vāniyan trader, from Sanskrit vāṇija; from a tree of the species in Iran under which such traders conducted business

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Last Updated

27 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Banyan.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/banyan. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for banyan

banyan

noun

English Language Learners Definition of banyan

: an Indian tree with long branches that send roots down to the ground forming secondary trunks

More from Merriam-Webster on banyan

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about banyan

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