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[jan-uh-ser-ee] /ˈdʒæn əˌsɛr i/
noun, plural janissaries.
(often initial capital letter) a member of an elite military unit of the Turkish army organized in the 14th century and abolished in 1826 after it revolted against the Sultan.
(often initial capital letter) any soldier in the Turkish army.
a member of any group of loyal guards, soldiers, or supporters.
Also, janizary
[jan-uh-zer-ee] /ˈdʒæn əˌzɛr i/ (Show IPA)
Origin of janissary
1520-30; < French janissaire < Italian gian(n)izzero < Turkish yeniçeri, equivalent to yeni new + çeri soldiery, militia Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for janissary
Historical Examples
  • This precipitated a decision by the council, and the janissary was at once promoted to high office.

  • Just at this moment they stopped in front of the house of the janissary Aga.

  • Besides, the janissary of the Consulate had showed us the way to his house.

    The Lands of the Saracen Bayard Taylor
  • All around sat the Spahi and janissary officers with their swords in their hands.

  • This, as the Jew had told him, seemed very simple to the janissary.

  • Coming down the hill into the plain, we were there met by a janissary from the convent, sent to conduct us into the city.

  • By this time the janissary was beside himself with rage at so much opposition.

  • The latter is now my janissary, and tells me that he sold Angela to a Jew in the public market, and does not know where she is.

    The Pirate City R.M. Ballantyne
  • About two hours later the door was again opened, and a man in the uniform of a janissary entered.

    The Middy and the Moors R.M. Ballantyne
  • The mere name of janissary, compromised or not by an overt act, operated like a sentence of death.

    Constantinople William Holden Hutton
British Dictionary definitions for janissary


noun (pl) -saries, -zaries
an infantryman in the Turkish army, originally a member of the sovereign's personal guard, from the 14th to the early 19th century
Word Origin
C16: from French janissaire, from Italian giannizzero, from Turkish yeniçeri, from yeni new + çeri soldiery
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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