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[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.
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Examples from the web for janitor
  • People are required to have a high school diploma to be a janitor.
  • Steichen prepared for the shoot by having a janitor sit in for the magnate while he perfected the lighting.
  • Only one now has a full-time job, working as a janitor in a charter school.
  • Meanwhile, a club janitor learns that the biker, the club owner and another are murderous dope pushers.
  • Everyone from the janitor to the president should be required to submit criminal records.
  • It is impossible to tell who is rich and who is poor, who is a world-famous scientist and who is the janitor.
  • He would have won the case even if he had been a janitor.
  • He was a milkman, a sporting-goods salesman and a janitor in a paper factory.
  • But a janitor caught jerking off in the supply closet would be gone so fast heads would spin.
  • And each face was on a body wearing either a business suit or a janitor's jumpsuit.
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
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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
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