One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In Sri Lanka and southern India: a proprietor, a business person, an entrepreneur (especially one not affecting Western dress and not doing business in English).
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Horace Wilson (1786–1860), Sanskritist. From Sinhala mudalāli and its etymon Tamil mutalāḷi proprietor from mutal property. Cf mudaliyar.
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