One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In some Central Asian societies (as among the Uzbeks, Kazakhs,Tajiks, etc.): a village elder, a headman.
Early 19th century; earliest use found in John Pinkerton (1758–1826), historian and poet. From a word in a Turkic language of Central Asia (e.g. Uzbek aksakal (formerly in Arabic script as aqsaqal)), cognate with Turkish aksakal, lit. ‘white beard’ (from ak- white + sakal beard).
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