(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.
"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."