One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An order of Sufi dervishes; a member of this order.
Early 17th century. From Turkish Mevlevi from Arabic mawlawī, use as noun of denominal adjective from mawlā lord, master, after Mawlānā (Turkish Mevlânâ), sobriquet of Mawlānā Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, Persian poet and mystic, from whom the Mevlevi order (Arabic Mawlawiyya) takes its name: see maulana and compare Encycl. Islam (new ed., 1991) at Mawlawiyya.
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