E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Pasha of Three Tails (A).
There are three grades of pashas distinguished by the number of horse-tails on their standard. In war the horse-tail standard is carried before the pasha, and planted in front of his tent. The highest rank of pashas are those of three tails; the grand vizier is always ex officio such a pasha. Pashas of two tails are governors of provinces; it is one of these officers that we mean when we speak of a pasha in a general way. A pasha of one tail is a sanjak or lowest of provincial governors. (The word pasha is the Persian pa, support of Shah, the ruler.)