Khaki

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Soldiers of 33rd Punjabis of British Indian Army in khaki.

Khaki (UK /ˈkɑːk/, Canada and US /ˈkæk/) is a color, a light shade of yellow-brown similar to tan or beige. Khaki is a loanword incorporated from Hindustani ख़ाकी and Urdu خاکی (both meaning "soil-colored") and is originally derived from the Persian: خاکی [xɒːˈkiː] (khâk, literally meaning "soil"), which came to English from British India[1] via the British Indian Army. It has been used by many armies around the world for uniforms, including camouflage. It has been used as a color name in English since 1848.[2]

In Western fashion, it is a standard color for smart casual dress trousers for civilians.

However, the name is sometimes also used to describe a drab green color[citation needed]. In the mid-twentieth century as many Western militaries adopted an olive drab instead of the older, more brownish khaki, the two color names became associated with each other[citation needed].

Origin[edit]

Khaki was first worn in the Corps of Guides that was raised in December 1846 as the brain-child of Sir Henry Lawrence (1806-1857) Resident at Lahore, and Agent to the Governor-General for the North-West Frontier. Lawrence chose as its commandant Sir Harry Lumsden supported by William Stephen Raikes Hodson as Second-in-Command to begin the process of raising the Corps of Guides for frontier service from British Indian recruits at Peshawar. Initially the border troops were dressed in their native costume, which consisted of a smock and white pajama trousers made of a coarse home-spun cotton, and a cotton turban, supplemented by a leather or padded cotton jacket for cold weather. For the first year (1847) no attempt was made at uniformity. Subsequently in 1848 Lumsden and Hodson decided to introduce a drab (khaki) uniform which Hodson commissioned his brother in England to send them - as recorded in Hodson's book of published letters: "12 Years of a Soldier's Life in India". It was only at a later date, when supplies of drab (khaki) material was unavailable, did they improvise by dying material locally with a dye prepared from the native mazari palm. Some believe the gray drab/khaki color it produced was used historically by Afghan tribals for camouflaging themselves. The mazari could not, however, dye leather jackets and an alternative was sought: Cloth was dyed in mulberry juice which gave a yellowish drab shade.[3]:537–539 Subsequently all regiments, whether British or Indian, serving in the region had adopted khaki uniforms for active service and summer dress. The original khaki fabric was a closely twilled cloth of linen or cotton.

Military use[edit]

Policemen in India in their khaki-colored uniform

Khaki-colored uniforms were used officially by British troops for the first time during the Abyssinian campaign of 1867–68, when Indian troops traveled to Ethiopia (Abyssinia) under the command of general Sir Robert Napier to release some British captives and to "persuade the Abyssinian King Theodore, forcibly if necessary, to mend his ways".[4] Subsequently, the British Army adopted khaki for colonial campaign dress and it was used in the Mahdist War (1884-1889) and Second Boer War (1899–1902).

During the Second Boer War, the British forces became known as Khakis because of their uniforms. After victory in the war the government called an election, which became known as the khaki election, a term used subsequently for elections called to exploit public approval of governments immediately after victories.

Khaki is a common color in military uniforms, as on these students from the Philippines Merchant Marine Academy.

The United States Army adopted khaki during the Spanish American War (1898). The United States Navy and United States Marine Corps followed suit.

When khaki was adopted for the continental British Service Dress in 1902, the shade chosen had a clearly darker and more green hue. This color was adopted with minor variations by all the British Empire Armies and the US expeditionary force of World War I, in the latter under the name olive drab. This shade of brown-green remained in use by many countries throughout the two World Wars. Khaki was devised to protect soldiers against the dangers of the industrialized battlefield, where the traditional bright colors and elaborate costumes made them vulnerable to attack. A response to surveillance technologies and smokeless guns, khaki could camouflage soldiers in the field of battle.[5]

During the second half of the WWII, American olive drab became distinctly more green, known as olive green. Most of the countries that participated in NATO, adopted the US military style and with it the olive green color. This color continued to be called khaki in many European countries[citation needed]. In France for example the term passed in the general language for a green shade of olive color[citation needed]. The older yellow-brown used in WWI was called in France moutarde instead[citation needed].

Use in civilian clothing[edit]

The trousers known as "khakis", which became popular following World War II, were initially military-issue khaki twill used in uniforms and were invariably khaki in color. Today, the term can refer to the fabric and style of trousers based on this older model, also called "chinos", rather than their color.

Tones of khaki[edit]

Light khaki[edit]

Khaki (X11)How to read this color infobox
About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet #F0E68C
sRGBB  (rgb) (240, 230, 140)
HSV       (h, s, v) (54°, 41%, 94%)
Source X11[6]
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

At right is displayed the color light khaki.

It corresponds to Khaki in the X11 color names.[7]

Khaki[edit]

Khaki (HTML/CSS)How to read this color infobox
About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet #C3B091
sRGBB  (rgb) (195, 176, 145)
HSV       (h, s, v) (37°, 26%, 76%)
Source HTML/CSS
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

This is the web color called khaki in HTML/CSS.

The color shown at right matches the color designated as khaki in the 1930 book A Dictionary of Color, the standard for color nomenclature before the introduction of computers.

Dark khaki[edit]

Dark KhakiHow to read this color infobox
About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet #BDB76B
sRGBB  (rgb) (189, 183, 107)
HSV       (h, s, v) (56°, 43%, 74%)
Source X11
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

At right is displayed the web color dark khaki.[7]

It corresponds to Dark Khaki in the X11 color names.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dictionary Meaning: Khaki; TheFreeDictionary; Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Encyclopedia
  2. ^ Maerz and Paul A Dictionary of Color New York:1930 McGraw-Hill Page 197; Color Sample of Khaki: Page 49 Plate 13 Color Sample J7
  3. ^ Jackson, Major Donovan (1940). India's Army. London: S. Low, Marston & Co. OCLC 2939077. 
  4. ^ Byron Farwell, Armies of the Raj, 1989, page 75.
  5. ^ Tynan, Jane (2013). British Army Uniform and the First World War: Men in Khaki. London: Palgrave MacMillan. 
  6. ^ W3C TR CSS3 Color Module, HTML4 color keywords
  7. ^ a b CSS3 Color Module, retrieved 2010-09-12

External links[edit]