Q From Chris Clifford, and also from Terry Yawn: Can you tell me the origin of the word mufti?
A This term for the off-duty civilian clothes of the military man, or these days anybody who usually wears some sort of uniform, was originally a joke among officers in the British Indian Army, and is first recorded early in the nineteenth century. It’s usually said to come from Mufti, the title of a Muslim legal expert who is empowered to give rulings on religious law. The story is told in Yule and Burnell’s Hobson-Jobson of 1886 that the word was “perhaps originally applied to the attire of dressing-gown, smoking-cap, and slippers, which was like the Oriental dress of the Mufti”. I assume that officers wore this garb while relaxing in the mess.
Page created 27 Mar. 1999
Support World Wide Words and keep this site alive.
Donate by selecting your currency and clicking the button.
Buy from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you. Select a site and click Go!