Machete Spanish A broad bladed cutting and slashing tool. Often used to clear trails or bush.
Maharaja India A Hindu or Sikh princely ruler.
Mahout India Hereditary elephant driver.
Makee-learn Far East A Chinese pidgin-english word in common use in the Navy to refer to a youngster. Another pidgin-english word of similar meaning is Cheese-Eye.
Mall India Main street - the place for afternoon drives.
Manifest Naval The official inventory of all cargo carried in a merchant ship.
Manning Ship Naval A ceremonial mark of salutation, originally to show peaceful intentions (like the raising of a knight's visor) in that with all hands on deck you could have no guns manned.
Marry Naval To marry the gunner's daughter. An old naval expression meaning to be laid over a gun to receive a thrashing.
Marque Naval Letters of Marque (Mart). A commission granted by the Admiralty to the master of a merchant ship or privateer to attack the ships of an enemy.
Marwari India A member of a prosperous merchant community orginally from Marwar in Rajputana, but subsequently spread throughout India.
Masjid India/Middle East/North Afica A mosque.
Maulvi India A learned man, often a doctor.
Maund India A measure of about 80 lb
M.B.E. Abbreviation Member of the Order of the British Empire.
Memsahib India This was a term used to describe the women of the Raj. Usually referring to the wives of Imperial bureaucrats, planters, soldiers etc... serving in India. As they were the masters of the household they developed a reputation for hardiness and sterness especially in dealing with their servants and locals. The term was often used derisively to describe an overbearing, loud and obnoxious woman.
Mess Naval The unit of community life as lived in one of HM ships; hence, the place where each unit lives and eats; hence also, the naval verb for both inhabiting and eating. The context must show whether living or eating is referred to.
Militia Army Local military forces formed from the citizenry for service in an emergency.
Millat India/Middle East/North Afica The Muslim religious community, occasionally used to denote Muslims in general.
Missmusters Military Men who for any reason have failed to attend a general occasion or 'parade' - such as payment, medical inspection, etc. - attend at a later session, specially arranged for them, as "Missmusters", because they have missed the original muster.
Mistry India Workman, builder or a mason.
Mleccha India The casteless "Untouchables". They were subsistence farmers, beggars, transient workers etc.
Mofussil India The countryside. Also infers that it is out of the way or the back of beyond.
Mohajir India A migrating Muslim, was used to describe the Urdu speakers who moved to Pakistan in 1947.
Mohalla India The residential parts of a town or city.
Mohur India Gold coin worth 16 rupees.
Monkey Naval An adjective formerly used afloat to describe any small place or article, e.g., monkey jacket (i.e. abbreviated frock coat), monkey island, monkey boom, etc.
Monopoly Commercial Exclusive possession or control of some commodity, right or privilege, especially in trade and manufacturing.
Mortgage Commercial A mortgage is created when a debtor transfers property to a creditor as security for a debt owing to, or for money advanced by, that that creditor.
Muezzin India/Middle East/North Afica Man who calls Muslims to prayer from the minaret of the mosque.
Mufti India Civilian (native) clothes.
Muggar India A river crocodile.
Mullah India/Middle East/North Afica A Muslim teacher or reader of the Koran, and traditionally an expert on Islamic law.
Mundungus Naval A word used in the Navy to refer to any useless or unwanted material. It is, in fact, the correct name for the dust of unmanufactured tobacco leaves.
Munjy Naval A sailors' slang name for food: perhaps from the French Manger but more probably from the Maltese Mangiare (to eat).
Munshi India A tutor.
Mussulman India Muslim.
M.V.O. Abbreviation Member of the Royal Victorian Order