Query on the term *mistri*

Fri Feb 27 01:10:01 UTC 1998

At 04:51 PM 2/26/98 -0700, you wrote:
>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

In telugu the word that is used is 'mEstrI'. The word is used to
indicate a person who is the leader of a group of labourers
who are engaged to do a particular job.(For example construction
job or quarrying etc.) The word appears to be derived most probably
from the word 'master' or 'mastery'. It is also used to indicate
an expert in a trade. Thus 'tApI mEstrI' stands for 'master mason'.



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