Monday, June 21, 2010
A Mr. Charles Martel from Ferme La Bouche Louisiana asks...
"Dear Mr. Knowitall, I just bought me some Khaki's from The Walmart in Slidell, and I really like them. But there seems to be different shades of Khaki, could you help clear this up?"
Dear Chuck...Of course I can!!
The name for the color Khaki comes from British India. It is a Hindustani/Urdu word meaning 'dust-covered'. It was first used by the British Army in 1848. During the Abyssinian campaign of Africa in the 1860's is when it was officially introduced as standard military color. It was strangely withdrawn as standard color in 1864, but the British troops on the Pakistani frontier, loved it so much that they dyed their uniforms with tea leaves. Over the years various armies of the World have adopted Khaki in different shades for their military garb, and it is used to this day.
Then along came the French!......
When you see olive drab, or pale green...That is what the French refer to as Khaki!!
And there is a very interesting story behind this little twist, gather around kiddies, and I'll tell you the tale of King Louis XIV...
Louis XIV became a King at age 4, and he reigned for over 72 years...Longer than any European Monarch. Since he was so young at the time of assuming power, he was used to having most things done for him. He was waited on hand and foot for EVERYTHING. This of course included his "Water Closet" duties. When he had 'To Go', a chamber pot was brought to him wherever he happened to be at the time. All of his staff gathered around waiting anxiously for the Grand Event to occur, and when it did they all applauded the King for his 'Movement'!! His odiferous little prize was refered to as Ka-Ka. Kings of course have a much different diet than most of us common folk, and apparantly it had a green tint to it. Over the years Ka-Ka of course became bastardized to Khaki, and therein lies the mystery of the same word describing several shades of color!!
Now to the best of my knowledge, the preceding little anecdote is completely true....But maybe you had better not use that definition if you find yourself on Jeopardy.
Good question Charles, thanks.
But Mr. Knowitall grows weary, and he has one final "duty" to attend to...