Query on the term *mistri*

Jo Kirkpatrick jkirk at MICRON.NET
Thu Feb 26 23:51:00 UTC 1998

Recently I read that the so-called mystery plays of the middle ages in
EU were not so called because they had something to do with "religious
mysteries" but because they were staged by guilds called mystry or
mystery. This rang a bell, as the term *mistri* in North India (I don't
know if it also entered Dravidian languages) is usually glossed
similarly to sense 2 below from the OED.

I checked with the OED, which wrote that senses 2-4 were "probably
confused with *maisterie*, MASTERY." Thus, senses 2 (and maybe 3?) under
*mystery* accorded with the meaning of *mistri* in India and Bangladesh.
(The OED also said that "In med. Latin *mistera* was a form commonly
used with senses 2 & 3." That explains its use in connection with
"mystery plays".)
Sense 2: "Handicraft; craft, art. One's trade, profession, or calling."
Sense 3: "A trade guild or company"

Would some kind listmember inform as to how the term *mistri* entered
into languages of the subcontinent.

Thanks for any information,

Joanna Kirkpatrick

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