One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of various gold coins formerly used in Persia (now Iran) and India, specifically one originally equivalent to the mohur.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Jonas Hanway (bap. 1712, d. 1786), merchant and philanthropist. From Persian 'ašrafī from Arabic 'ašrafī from 'ašraf most noble, elative of šarīf noble, honourable, exalted + -ī, originally with reference to the honorific title al-'Ašraf ‘the Most Noble’ taken by several 15th-cent. Mameluke rulers of Egypt, among them Abu'l-Naṣr Barsbāy, sultan of Egypt 1422–38, who introduced the coin 1426.
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