noun (1)
tai·​pan | \ ˈtī-ˌpan How to pronounce taipan (audio) , ˈtī-ˈpän How to pronounce taipan (audio) \

Definition of taipan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a powerful businessman and especially formerly a foreigner living and operating in Hong Kong or China


noun (2)
tai·​pan | \ ˈtī-ˌpan How to pronounce taipan (audio) \

Definition of taipan (Entry 2 of 2)

: an exceedingly venomous elapid snake (Oxyuranus scutellatus) of northern Australia and New Guinea also : a related snake (O. microlepidotus)

First Known Use of taipan

Noun (1)

1834, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1933, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for taipan

Noun (1)

Chinese (Guangdong) daaih-bāan, from daaih big + bāan class

Noun (2)

Wik Munkan (Australian aboriginal language of northern Queensland) dhayban

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about taipan

Time Traveler for taipan

Time Traveler

The first known use of taipan was in 1834

See more words from the same year

Statistics for taipan

Cite this Entry

“Taipan.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/taipan. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on taipan

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for taipan

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with taipan

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about taipan

Comments on taipan

What made you want to look up taipan? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!