Try Our Apps


Supposedly vs. Supposably


[jan-i-ter] /ˈdʒæn ɪ tər/
a person employed in an apartment house, office building, school, etc., to clean the public areas, remove garbage, and do minor repairs; caretaker.
Archaic. a doorkeeper or porter.
verb (used without object)
to be employed as a janitor.
Origin of janitor
1575-85; < Latin jānitor doorkeeper, equivalent to jāni- (combining form of jānus doorway, covered passage) + -tor -tor
Related forms
[jan-i-tawr-ee-uh l, -tohr-] /ˌdʒæn ɪˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr-/ (Show IPA),
underjanitor, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for janitor
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Of course both the toys kept very still as soon as the janitor looked at them.

  • When accidentally struck by the janitor's broom, he gives off a cloud of dust.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
  • Ezekiel Bassett, the janitor, having extinguished the last lamp, had emerged from the door and was locking up.

    Keziah Coffin Joseph C. Lincoln
  • They called the janitor and expostulated volubly, but all to no effect.

    A Woman for Mayor Helen M. Winslow
  • Gradually we could get it down to where the company would be wax, with the exception of a janitor with a feather duster.

    Remarks Bill Nye
British Dictionary definitions for janitor


(Scot & US, Canadian) the caretaker of a building, esp a school
(mainly US & Canadian) a person employed to clean and maintain a building, esp the public areas in a block of flats or office building; porter
Derived Forms
janitorial (ˌdʒænɪˈtɔːrɪəl) adjective
janitress, noun:feminine
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: doorkeeper, from jānua door, entrance, from jānus covered way (compare Janus1); related to Latin īre to go
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for janitor

1580s, "an usher in a school," later "doorkeeper" (1620s), from Latin ianitor "doorkeeper, porter," from ianua "door, entrance, gate," from ianus "arched passageway, arcade" (see Janus) + agent suffix -tor. Meaning "caretaker of a building" first recorded 1708.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for janitor

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for janitor

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for janitor