Time to dust off those khakis
I easily unscrambled three out of four Jumble words today: batch, fabric and exhale. The second one, aihkk, was tougher.
The first decoding skill I tried was to place the two k’s in the middle of the letters, since many English words have double letters at that spot. I was left with a, i, and h. Since words often start with consonants, I tried placing the h at the beginning. That gave me either hikka or hakki. Neither worked but the sound of hakki made me think of “khaki,” which did work.
We generally use “khaki” to describe pants or shirts that are a dull yellowish-brown. Now that spring is here, we’ll likely see more people in khaki pants, shirts and even hats. Clothing in this bland color is popular for outdoor wear and even casual Fridays at the office.
The word is a good example of how language expands when one nation takes over another and absorbs its culture. The British took “khaki” into British English in their nearly 100 years of ruling India. The Hindi word khâki came from the Persian word khâk meaning dust or earth, according to Webster’s.
“[Khaki] has become de rigueur for military uniforms of militaries the world over (e.g., the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps), as well as the police forces of many South Asian countries and U.S. states and counties,” according to Wikipedia. (De rigeueur, in this sense, means a strict fashion requirement.)
Below is a picture of soldiers in the Indian Army wearing khaki uniforms. An officer called a subedar stands in front. A subedar ranked above non-commissioned officers and below British commissioned officers, according to Wikipedia. A subedar was expected to be fluent in English and was considered an important link between the fighting forces of two radically different cultures.
The 33rd Punjabi Army (A Picture of a Commander: A Punjabi Subadar)
Painting was completed around 1909.
Caption and photo of painting courtesy of Wikipedia