(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.

1580–90; < Middle French < Dutch pallankin < Portuguese palanquimPali pallaṅka, Sanskrit palyaṅka; compare Oriya pālaṅki

palanquiner, palankeener, noun
palanquiningly, palankeeningly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
palanquin or palankeen (ˌpælənˈkiːn)
a covered litter, formerly used in the Orient, carried on the shoulders of four men
[C16: from Portuguese palanquim, from Prakrit pallanka, from Sanskrit paryanka couch]
palankeen or palankeen
[C16: from Portuguese palanquim, from Prakrit pallanka, from Sanskrit paryanka couch]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

"a covered litter," 1588, from Port. palanquim (1515), from Malay and Javanese palangki, ult. from Skt. 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 Sp. palanca, from L. phalanga "pole to carry a burden."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The whole is placed on a little palanquin that is borne on the shoulders of four small boys.
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