Semantic drift: "khaki"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Sep 15 15:34:06 UTC 2007

Just what color do people understand nowadays by "khaki"?  All my life I've subscribed to the def. of the OED: "dust-coloured; dull brownish yellow, drab," a kind of light to medium beige.

  Recently, though, I've noticed writers using "khaki" to designate the much darker brown,   formerly used for U.S. Army uniforms (as in World War I) and usually designated "olive drab."  Now I find Vietnam veteran Larry Heinemann (in _Black Virgin Mountain_) referring to the dark "olive-green" Army "service uniform" of the '60s as "khakis." Surely Heinemann knows better - or my memory is slipping.

  But anyway, without checking your dictionaries, what color is "khaki"?


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