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palanquin

[pal-uh n-keen] /ˌpæl ənˈkin/
noun
1.
(formerly in India and other Eastern countries) a passenger conveyance, usually for one person, consisting of a covered or boxlike litter carried by means of poles resting on the shoulders of several men.
Also, palankeen.
Origin
1580-1590
1580-90; < Middle French < Dutch pallankin < Portuguese palanquimPali pallaṅka, Sanskrit palyaṅka; compare Oriya pālaṅki
Related forms
palanquiner, palankeener, noun
palanquiningly, palankeeningly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for palanquin
  • The whole is placed on a little palanquin that is borne on the shoulders of four small boys.
British Dictionary definitions for palanquin

palanquin

/ˌpælənˈkiːn/
noun
1.
a covered litter, formerly used in the Orient, carried on the shoulders of four men
Word Origin
C16: from Portuguese palanquim, from Prakrit pallanka, from Sanskrit paryanka couch
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
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Word Origin and History for palanquin
n.

"a covered litter," 1580s, from Portuguese palanquim (early 16c.), from Malay and Javanese palangki "litter, sedan," ultimately from Sanskrit palyanka-s "couch, bed, litter," from pari "around" + ancati "it bends, curves," related to anka-s "a bend, hook, angle," and meaning, perhaps, "that which bends around the body." Some have noted the "curious coincidence" of Spanish palanca, from Latin phalanga "pole to carry a burden."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for palanquin

litter

portable bed or couch, open or enclosed, that is mounted on two poles and carried at each end on the shoulders of porters or by animals. Litters, which may have been adapted from sledges that were pushed or dragged on the ground, appear in Egyptian paintings and were used by the Persians; they are mentioned in the Book of Isaiah. Litters were also common in the Orient, where they were called palanquins. In ancient Rome, litters were reserved for empresses and senators' wives, and plebeians were forbidden to travel in them. By the 17th century, litters were plentiful in Europe; protection and privacy were provided by canopies held up by poles and by curtains or leather shields. The introduction of spring-mounted coaches ended the need for litters except as transport for the sick and wounded.

Learn more about litter with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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