Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: jodhpur.

jodhpur. “Jodhpur” /JOD-puhr/ derives from the city of Jodhpur, India. The word (almost invariably used in the plural) refers to a type of flared-at-the-thigh pants used in English horse-riding. Through a kind of visual metathesis, the word is often mispronounced /JOD-fuhr/. And believe it or not, this error pervades the horse-riding industry. The mispronunciation sometimes results in the obvious misspelling — e.g.: “Wealthy suburbanites clad in fancy jodphurs [read ‘jodhpurs’] and riding boots will replace overall-clad cowboys like Mizer.” Meghan Meyer, “Old Feed Store Fading into the Sunset,” Palm Beach Post, 14 July 2002, at B1. By inevitable extension, the misspelling also goes back to the source of the word — e.g.: “His name is Ali Akbar Khan, above, whose family traces its musical roots to the 16th century, when an ancestor was court musician to the Emperor Akbar, as Ali Akbar Khan was to the Maharajah of Jodphur [read ‘Jodhpur’] in his 20’s.” Lawrence Van Gelder, “Footlights,” N.Y. Times, 7 Nov. 2002, at E1. How did Jodhpur, a town in northeastern India, come to be famously associated with riding pants? It seems that Rao Raja Hanut Singh, who represented Jodhpur at Queen Victoria’s 60th jubilee in 1897, had designed some comfortable riding trousers that ballooned at the thigh and narrowed at the knee so that they could be tucked into boots. While in London, he had the pants copied by a London tailor, who then began making and selling them. By 1899, the pants were well on their way to international popularity. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “If many of our great modern authors had waited for inspiration, they never would have attained success. This foolish notion of ‘waiting until the spirit moves you’ is a perennial alibi for the lazy author.” Maren Elwood, 111 Don’ts for Writers 120-21 (1949). ====================  
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