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This article is about the fabric. For the colour, see Khaki . Kaki, another name for the persimmon, is often misspelled "Khaki".

Khaki is a common color in military uniforms
Khaki color plastered home in a village of Pakistan
Khaki is a type of fabric or the colour of such fabric. The name comes from the Persian word khâk (dust/ashes) which came to English from British India, specifically via the British Indian Army. It is in Britain; in the US; , , or, increasingly, in Canada) (in Persian: خاکی .

Regardless of its precise etymology, "khaki" refers to the colour of uniforms introduced by the army regiments in the 1880s. More accurately, the correct shade of "khaki" is the colour of "Multani Mitti", meaning "the mud of Multan". Multanmarker was a well known military cantonment of British India (now in Pakistan).

During the Second Boer War, the British forces became known as Khakis because of their uniforms.

In 1846 Sir Harry Lumsden raised a corps of Guides for frontier service from British Indian recruits at Peshawarmarker. Regiments serving in the region had adopted properly dyed khaki uniforms for active service and summer dress. The original khaki fabric was a closely twilled cloth of linen or cotton. The British Army adopted khaki for the campaign dress in 1897, and it was used in the Second Boer War (1899-1902). A darker shade of khaki serge was adopted for home service dress in 1902.

The United States Army adopted khaki during the Spanish American War (1898). It 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. It has also spread to civilian clothing, where "khakis" since the 1950s has meant tan cotton twill pants/trousers.

"Khaki" has also become a common slang term in the United States Navy that refers to chief petty officers and officer (who wear a khaki-colored uniform).

Today, civilian "khakis" come in all ranges of colors and the term refers more to the particular design or cut of the pants/trousers. In this context, "Khakis" have become popular as business casual pants/trousers, and includes other cuts and fabric types (such as chinos).


  1. The uniquely Canadian rhotic pronunciation rhymes with "malarkey". In The Canadian Dictionary (McClelland and Stewart, 1962), this pronunciation is cited solely and exclusively.

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