Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Used as a title of respect for men in Turkey, equivalent to sir.
  • n. An educated or respected man in the Near East.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An educated or well-respected man in an eastern Mediterranean or Arab country; often used as a title of respect or courtesy in Turkey or a former Ottoman territory.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Master; sir; -- a Turkish title of respect, applied esp. to a state official or man of learning, as one learned in the law, but often simply as the courtesy title of a gentleman.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A title of respect given to gentlemen in Turkey, equivalent to Mr. or sir, following the name when used with one.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a former Turkish term of respect; especially for government officials

Etymologies

Turkish efendi, from Medieval Greek aphentēs, master, alteration of Greek authentēs.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Turkish efendi, from Greek αφέντη (aphenti), vocative of αφέντης (aphentis), from Ancient Greek αὐθέντης (authentēs, "lord, master"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "...the only remaining officer, an odabashi, had been obliged to use what was in the men's powder-horns.

    "'Is this gentleman the odabashi?' asked Jack.

    "'Oh no, sir. He is an learned man, an effendi, who writes poetical Arabic letters and speaks Greek. The odabashi is only a brutal soldier, a janissary of about the rank of a boatswain...'"
    --Patrick O'Brian, Treason's Harbour, 145

    February 19, 2008