• synonyms


noun, plural jan·is·sar·ies.
  1. (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.
  2. (often initial capital letter) any soldier in the Turkish army.
  3. a member of any group of loyal guards, soldiers, or supporters.
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Also jan·i·zar·y [jan-uh-zer-ee] /ˈdʒæn əˌzɛr i/.

Origin of janissary

1520–30; < French janissaire < Italian gian(n)izzero < Turkish yeniçeri, equivalent to yeni new + çeri soldiery, militia
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for janissary

Historical Examples

  • A Mohammedan presses his janissary's cap over the crown of thorns.

    From Pole to Pole

    Sven Anders Hedin

  • The despair of the Sultan emboldened the Janissary still further.

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

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

  • All the Janissary officers evidently were on Halil Patrona's side.

British Dictionary definitions for janissary


janizary (ˈdʒænɪzərɪ)

noun plural -saries or -zaries
  1. an infantryman in the Turkish army, originally a member of the sovereign's personal guard, from the 14th to the early 19th century
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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