A1 The accepted synonym for first-class. In Lloyd's Register, A1 is the mark of a wooden ship of the first class, A referring to the quality of her hull and "1" to the quality of her equipment.
Abdar India The head servant. Typically at a club.
Aborigines Latin People who first lived in a particular land. It is often used specifically to refer to the native peoples of Australia.
Ackers Naval slang name for any foreign currency. The word comes from Egypt,
where beggars use it when pleading for baksheesh (Piastres).
Adat South East Asia A customary practice or law.
ADC Assistant District Commissioner, or Aide-de-camp to a governor.
Adha Seer India one pound, this was a derogatory term used to describe Eurasians.
Admiral A Naval Term to describe a rank. The word itself is of Arabic origin (Emir-el-Bahr - means Lord of the Seas). It came to us through the French and first appears in English records at the end of the 13th Century. Vice-Admiral came into use with the British about 1550, Rear-Admiral about 1600 and Admiral of the Fleet at the end of the 17th Century, apparently first being mentioned in an Order in Council of 1693, dealing with the pay of Flag Officers.
Adrift A word used in the Navy for anyone or anything that cannot be found when it is wanted.
AFI India Auxilliary Forces India. Basically the European Civilians 'Home Guard' to defend India.
Afrikaaner Boer The descendants of white European settlers who lived in South Africa from the 1600s onwards.
Amah South East Asia and China Chinese maidservant or nurse. Originally from Portugese.
Amir parwa India Defender of the rich.
AlkalakIndia Long coat worn by horsemen.
Alkali Africa and Middle East Moslem judge or lay magistrate who administers Mohammedan law.
Andrew Naval Andrew Miller or the Andrew. Slang name for the Royal Navy. It comes from a very zealous Press Gang officer of the name of Andrew Miller, of whom it was commonly said that he pressed so many men into the Navy that it was practically his own
AngaryNaval The Right of Angary. The right, recognised in international law, of a belligerent to seize for his own use the shipping of a neutral power.
Anglo-Indian India This term was originally used to describe British people who lived and worked in India. However, over time, this term came to be used to describe those people who were of mixed blood (Eurasian). Throughout this site, the term is used in its original meaning.
Angmoh Kwei South East Asia red haired spirit, devil or apparition. Usually used to describe Europeans.
Angrezi RajIndia British Rule.
Anna India One sixteenth of a Rupee.
APC South East Asia Asiatic Petroleum Company. Otherswise known as Shell.
Apke wasti India lit. 'at your command'. But used to describe a toady.
Ashanti Chicken Africa A West African dish made up of one fowl, with the bones removed, stuffed inside another.
Ashbuton Treaty Legal Also known as the Treaty of Washington. It was the 1842 agreement between the USA and Britain which defined the borders between Canada and the USA.
Askari Africa Soldier or a policeman. From Swahili.
Atap South East Asia Palm leaf thatced house.
AtchanIndia Uniform Jacket.
Attorney Legal One who is appointed by another person to act for him in his absence and who is given legal authority for this purpose.
Austrian Knot A pattern of braided sleeve decoration made of cord and/or lace on the tunics of officers.
Autonomy Legal The right and power of self-government, as applied to a State, community and other social organisations.
AvastNaval Avast! means Hold! Enough! Finish! It comes from the Italian word "Basta".
Ayah India and South East Asia Native nurse or lady's maid. (From Portugese)
Aye AyeNaval The derivation of this is generally thought to be unknown, but some
experts think it may possibly come from the German "Eiey!" - an
exclamation of astonishment or admiration.