Mahout is defined as being a person who drives, takes care of and controls elephants. Traditionally, life-time or career mahouts were knowledgeable, highly experienced individuals well-versed in elephant-rearing skills. These were true masters with an intimate understanding of their 'wards'. Men who possessed an exceptional ability to communicate and control their elephants with simple verbal commands and touch. See also elephant-keeper and Cornac.
In India and Southern Asia each elephant is assigned a driver, called a mahout, who formes a bond with his particular charge for years.