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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for janizary
Historical Examples
  • The teachers in the janizary schools were far from ordinary men.

  • The janizary then wrote down her request, and told her to go.

    The Women of the Arabs Henry Harris Jessup
  • A janizary standing here split his visage to grin, but it was surprising how quickly the Sultana had his head off.

    Cobwebs From an Empty Skull Ambrose Bierce (AKA: Dod Grile)
  • Hasan, the janizary, of gigantic stature and strength, ascended the outward fortification.

    The World's Greatest Books, Vol XI. Edited by Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton
  • I think our guide is a janizary—he has the look—but I have decided not to mention the matter.

    The Ship Dwellers

    Albert Bigelow Paine
  • I care not for the janizary, though you were the Aga himself, instead of a mutilated slave.

  • The burden of every story was the praise of the janizary organization, which alone enabled them to attain such glories and joys.

  • What will the lies of a whole sanjak of your hirelings avail against the honor of a janizary?

  • I once heard him say that the white wool on a janizary's cap was more honorable than the horse tail on the tent spear of another.

  • "It is impossible for a janizary to sheath the sword while Scanderbeg lives," replied the Aga.

British Dictionary definitions for janizary


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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Word Origin and History for janizary

"elite Turkish infantry," 1520s, from French janissaire (15c.), from Italian giannizzero, from Turkish yenicheri, literally "new troops," from yeni "new" + cheri "soldiery." Formed 1362 from slaves and prisoners of war, ranks filled over the years from tributary children of Christians, abolished 1826.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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