"a covered litter, generally for one person, used in India and elsewhere in the East, borne by means of poles on the shoulders of four or six men," 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." "The final nasal appears to have been a Portuguese addition as in mandarin, and is often absent from the forms given by early travellers ..." [OED].
updated on December 16, 2019