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A Turkish Effendi (1862)
Figurine of an effendi, circa 1770, hard-paste porcelain, height: 10.8 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)

Effendi or Effendy (Turkish: Efendi; originally from Greek: αφέντης IPA: [aˈfendis]; in Ottoman Turkish: افندی, romanized: efendi) is a title of nobility meaning sir, lord or master, especially in the Ottoman Empire and the Caucasus. The title itself and its other forms are originally derived from Medieval Greek aphentēs which is derived from Ancient Greek authentēs meaning lord.[1]

It is a title of respect or courtesy, equivalent to the English Sir. It was used in the Ottoman Empire and Byzantine 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).[2]

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]

Lucy Mary Jane Garnett wrote in the 1904 work Turkish Life in Town and Country that Ottoman Christians, women, mullahs, sheiks, and princes of the Ottoman royal family could become effendi, a title carrying "the same significance as the French Monsieur" and which was one of two "merely conventional designations as indefinite as our "Esquire" has come to be [in the United Kingdom]".[3]

The Republican Turkish authorities abolished the title circa the 1930s.[4]


The Ottoman Turkish word افندی, in modern Turkish efendi, is a borrowing of the Medieval Greek ἀφέντης afendēs, from Ancient Greek αὐθέντης authentēs, "master, author, doer, perpetrator" (cf. authentic).[5][6][7][8] This word was widely used as a Greek title for Byzantine nobles as late as 1465, such as in the letters of Cardinal Bessarion concerning the children of Thomas Paleologus.[9]

Other uses[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ El-Messiri, Sawsan (1997). Ibn Al-Balad: A Concept of Egyptian Identity. Brill Publishers. p. 5. ISBN 9004056645.
  2. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Effendi". Encyclopædia Britannica. 9 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 9–10.
  3. ^ Garnett, Lucy Mary Jane. Turkish Life in Town and Country. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1904. p. 5.
  4. ^ Shaw, Stanford J. and Ezel Kural Shaw. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey (Volume II). Cambridge University Press, 27 May 1977. ISBN 0521291666, 9780521291668. p. 386.
  5. ^ αὐθέντης. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  6. ^ "effendi". Oxford Dictionaries.
  7. ^ Harper, Douglas. "effendi". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  8. ^ Harper, Douglas. "authentic". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  9. ^ "Bessarion on the imperial hangers-on". Surprised by Time.
  10. ^ Nassau, William Senior (1882). Conversations and Journals in Egypt and Malta. 2. S. Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington.
  11. ^ Hans-Jürgen Kornrumpf (1979) Langenscheidt's Universal Dictionary, Turkish-English, English-Turkish, Langenscheidt KG, Berlin and Leipzig ISBN 978-0-88729-167-8
  12. ^ See entry "Afande" in TUKI KAMUSI YA KISWAHILI-KIINGEREZA, by Taasisi ya Uchunguzi wa Kiswahili, Chuo Kikuu cha Dar es Salaam; Toleo la 1 Edition (January 1, 2001), online here; "afande: respectful or formal address used by a soldier to his/her superior; respectful or formal answer of a soldier to his/her superior's call."
  13. ^ Parsons, Timothy H. (2003). The 1964 Army Mutinies And The Making Of Modern East Africa. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-325-07068-7.
  14. ^ Armies in East Africa 1914-18, Osprey Men-at-Arms, Peter Abbott, 2002, ISBN 978-1-84176-489-4
  15. ^ Gelfand, A. Allmusic Review accessed February 19, 2009.