One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A foreigner who is head of a business in China.
- ‘Sources say he is frequently sought out for advice and counsel by real taipans, some of Hong Kong's most powerful businessmen.’
- ‘The Hong Kong-based retailing taipan disagreed so much that he has made an offer of 250p a share to take the company back into private hands.’
- ‘According to the January, 1935 edition of Fortune Magazine, the average salary of taipans working in large foreign hongs was $75,000 per year.’
- ‘As for clothing, most male taipans brought their shirts, pyjamas and underwear from London, and then had them copied by native shirtmakers in Shanghai.’
- ‘Maggie Keswick's family had been merchants in China for 150 years and, by marrying into the Jardine family, became taipans of the Jardine Matheson company - a corporation which virtually ran Hong Kong.’
Mid 19th century: from Chinese ( Cantonese dialect) daaihbāan.
A large brown highly venomous Australian snake.
- ‘For example, Australian snakes such as the taipan and the brown snake use two active enzymes in their venom that are also present in human blood: factor X and factor V.’
- ‘He provided the Commonwealth Serum Laboratory with snake venom, including that of the taipan, for antivenom production.’
- ‘Just this February, Dr. Fry and his colleagues filed a patent for a molecule found in the venom of the inland taipan that may help treat congestive heart failure.’
- ‘The taipan, is the world's most poisonous snake and also lives in this unforgiving land.’
- ‘In a single strike, a taipan can inject 60 mg of venom - enough to quickly paralyse a small marsupial but also more than enough to wipe out several human adults.’
- ‘Even Australia's most dangerous snake, the taipan, carries enough venom to kill 30 adults, but its bite is not actually very painful, and it can take several hours for an untreated victim to die.’
1930s: from Wik Munkan (an extinct Aboriginal language of North Queensland) dhayban.
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