One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in East Africa) a soldier or police officer.
- ‘They were local askaris who thought we were rebels from the north.’
- ‘I was quietly removed from my African childhood whose boundary was marked with a razor wire fence and an armed askari at the gate and placed in a rented terraced house in Ealing.’
- ‘Facing them 200 yards away are the neat files of white sacks containing split peas and maize, each attended by companies of askari.’
- ‘The askari has technical, military training, and his goal is the ‘self-preservation ‘of his group.’’
- ‘‘They don't like butterfly farmers-we are like askaris to them,’ says Kiti, using the Swahili word for soldiers or guards.’
- ‘They should instead take comfort in the fact that African askaris and Indian sepoys fought as mercenaries in the armies of the British Empire.’
Late 19th century: from Arabic ‘askarī ‘soldier’.
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