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"Efendi" redirects here. For other uses, see Efendi (disambiguation).

Effendi, Effendy or Efendi (Greek: αυθέντης Avthéntis; Ottoman Turkish language: افندي Efendi, Arabic: أفندي Afandī; Persian: آفندی ‎, Urdu: آفندی ‎) is a title of nobility meaning a Lord or Master.[1]

It is a title of respect or courtesy, equivalent to the English Sir, which was used in the Ottoman Empire. It follows the personal name, when it is used, and is generally given to members of the learned professions and to government officials who have high ranks, such as bey or pasha. It may also indicate a definite office, as hekim efendi, chief physician to the sultan. The possessive form efendim (my master) is used by servants, in formal discourse, when answering the telephone, and can substitute for "excuse me" in some situations (e.g. asking someone to repeat something) .[not verified in body]

In the Ottoman era, the most common title affixed to a personal name after that of agha was efendi. Such a title would have indicated an "educated gentleman", hence by implication a graduate of a secular state school (rüşdiye), even though at least some if not most of these efendis had once been religious students, or even religious teachers.[not verified in body]

The word itself is an adaption of the Medieval Greek afendēs (αφέντης), from ancient Greek authentēs (αὐθέντης), generally "lord, master".[2][3] This word was widely used for Byzantine nobles as late as 1465, such as in the letters of Cardinal Bessarion concerning the children of Thomas Paleologus.[4]

Other uses[edit]

  • Effendi is still used as an honorific in Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey (as well as some other former Ottoman states), and is the source of the word أفندم؟ afandim?, Turkish: efendim, a particularly polite way of saying "Pardon me?", and can be used in answering the phone.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Messiri, Sawsan. "Ibn Al-Balad: A Concept of Egyptian Identity". Brill Publishers, 1997. page 5
  2. ^ αὐθέντης, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  3. ^ effendi, on Oxford Dictionaries
  4. ^ http://surprisedbytime.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/bessarion-on-imperial-hangers-on.html
  5. ^ A glossary of titles in Muhammad Ali Dynasty - Definition of Efendi
  6. ^ Nassau William Senior. Conversations and Journals in Egypt and Malta. S. Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1882.
  7. ^ Thimothy H. Parsons: The 1964 Army Mutinies And The Making Of Modern East Africa (Athens 2003)