Online Encyclopedia

KHAKI (from Urdu khak, dust)

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 770 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KHAKI (from Urdu khak, dust), originally a dust-coloured fabric, of the character of canvas, drill or holland, used by the British and native armies in India. It seems to have been first worn by the Guides, a mixed regiment of frontier troops, in 1848, and to have spread to other regiments during the following years. Some at any rate of the British troops had uniforms of khaki during the Indian Mutiny (1857-58), and thereafter drill or holland (generally called " khaki " whatever its colour) became the almost universal dress of British and native troops in Asia and Africa. During the South African War of 1899-1902, drill of a sandy shade of brown was worn by all troops sent out from Great Britain and the Colonies. Khaki drill, however, proved unsuitable material for the cold weather in the uplands of South Africa, and after a time the troops were supplied with dust-coloured serge uniforms. Since 1900 all drab and green-grey uniforms have been, unofficially at any rate, designated khaki.
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