1. a person who is in charge of the maintenance of a building, estate, etc.; superintendent.
  2. a person or group that temporarily performs the duties of an office.
  3. British. a janitor.
  4. a person who takes care of another.
  1. involving the temporary performance of the duties of an office: a caretaker government.

Origin of caretaker

First recorded in 1855–60; care + taker
Related formscare·tak·ing, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for care-taker

Historical Examples of care-taker

British Dictionary definitions for care-taker


  1. a person who is in charge of a place or thing, esp in the owner's absencethe caretaker of a school
  2. (modifier) holding office temporarily; interima caretaker government
  3. social welfare a person who takes care of a vulnerable person, often a close relativeSee also carer
Derived Formscaretaking, noun
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

Word Origin and History for care-taker

also caretaker, 1858, from care (n.) + agent noun of take (v.). The back-formed verb caretake is attested by 1893.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper