1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pagoda
PAGODA (Port. pagode, a word introduced in the 16th century by the early Portuguese adventurers in India, reproducing phonetically some native word, possibly Pers. but-kadah, a house for an idol, or some form of Sansk. bhagavat, divine, holy), an Eastern term for a temple, especially a building of a pyramid shape common in India and the Far East and devoted to sacred purposes; in Buddhist countries, notably China, the name of a many-sided tower in which are kept holy relics. More loosely “pagoda” is used in the East to signify any non-Christian or non-Mussulman place of worship. Pagoda or pagod was also the name given to a gold (occasionally also silver) coin, of about the value of seven shillings, at one time current in southern India. From this meaning is derived the expression “the pagoda tree,” as synonymous with the “wealth of the Indies,” whence the phrase to “shake the pagoda tree.” There is a real tree, the Plumieria acuminata, bearing the name. It grows in India, and is of a small and graceful shape, and bears yellow and white flowers tinged with red.