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taipan1

[tahy-pan] /ˈtaɪ pæn/
noun
1.
(in China) the head or owner of a foreign business establishment.
Origin
dialectal Chinese
1895-1900
1895-1900; < dialectal Chinese (compare Guangdong dial. daaih-bāan), akin to Chinese dàbǎn ( great + bǎn company, class)

taipan2

[tahy-pan] /ˈtaɪ pæn/
noun
1.
a highly venomous elapid snake, Oxyuranus scutellatus, of New Guinea and northern Australia, that grows to a length of from 10 to 12 feet (3.1 to 3.7 meters).
Origin
1930-35; < Wik-Munkan (Australian Aboriginal language spoken around the Archer River, N Queensland), recorded as tay-pan
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for taipan

taipan1

/ˈtaɪˌpæn/
noun
1.
a large highly venomous elapid snake, Oxyuranus scutellatus, of NE Australia
Word Origin
C20: from a native Australian language

taipan2

/ˈtaɪˌpæn/
noun
1.
the foreign head of a business in China
Word Origin
C19: from dialectal form of Chinese tai great + ban company, class
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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Encyclopedia Article for taipan

any of three species of highly venomous snakes (family Elapidae) found from Australia to the southern edge of New Guinea. Taipans range in colour from beige to gray and pale brown to dark brown. Some taipans also experience seasonal colour changes. The coastal taipan (O. scutellatus) is the largest Australian elapid. Its maximum length is 2.9 metres (9.5 feet); however, most range between 1.8 and 2.4 metres (6 and 8 feet) in length. The fierce snake or inland taipan (O. microlepidotus) is smaller and can grow up to 1.7 metres (5.5 feet) in length. A third species, O. temporalis, was discovered in the central mountain ranges of Western Australia in 2006; its life history and habits await more detailed study

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