Semantic drift: "khaki"

Amy West medievalist at W-STS.COM
Mon Sep 17 03:56:27 UTC 2007

My brother, who trained me to spit-shine, used to starch his fatigues
as a youngster. They were olive drab or camouflage. I think the only
khaki-coloring I saw in his uniforms were in his desert camies. We
never called his uniforms anything but "fatigues", less frequently
BDUs (basic duty uniform?). Again, this is late 1970s.

I have heard khakis refer to the style of pants also known as chinos:
for example, at one point at the museum job we were told to wear
khakis and a golf shirt as a uniform.

---Amy (Again, not a lot of help) West

>Date:    Sat, 15 Sep 2007 14:14:22 -0700
>From:    Dave Wilton <dave at WILTON.NET>
>Subject: Re: Semantic drift: "khaki"
>IIRC, the US Army abandoned its tropical/summer khaki uniforms in the early
>1980s, leaving only the olive-drab uniform. I would suspect that if the
>meaning shifted it would be after this date, at least in American usage.
>During the 60s and 70s there was a true US Army khaki uniform, which would
>have been worn in tropical Vietnam. Perhaps Heinemann is referring to the
>true khaki uniform and this is being misinterpreted.

The American Dialect Society -

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