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 rehcs. More loosely " pagoda " is used in the East to signify any non-Christian or non-Mussulman place of worship. Pagoda or PAHARl 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.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)