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See more synonyms for janitor on Thesaurus.com
  1. a person employed in an apartment house, office building, school, etc., to clean the public areas, remove garbage, and do minor repairs; caretaker.
  2. Archaic. a doorkeeper or porter.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to be employed as a janitor.
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Origin of janitor

1575–85; < Latin jānitor doorkeeper, equivalent to jāni- (combining form of jānus doorway, covered passage) + -tor -tor
Related formsjan·i·to·ri·al [jan-i-tawr-ee-uh l, -tohr-] /ˌdʒæn ɪˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr-/, adjectiveun·der·jan·i·tor, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for janitor

custodian, attendant, superintendent, sitter, gatekeeper, caretaker, concierge, super, porter, sweeper, doorkeeper

Examples from the Web for janitor

Contemporary Examples of janitor

Historical Examples of janitor

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

  • The janitor was still there on guard, but the body of the dead monkey had been removed.

    The Film of Fear

    Arnold Fredericks

  • Yes, I gave the janitor the gold piece for finding your pet cane.

    The Gorgeous Girl

    Nalbro Bartley

  • It doesn't do any good to scold the janitor about our cold rooms.

    The New Pun Book

    Thomas A. Brown and Thomas Joseph Carey

  • They called the janitor and expostulated volubly, but all to no effect.

    A Woman for Mayor

    Helen M. Winslow

British Dictionary definitions for janitor


  1. Scot, US and Canadian the caretaker of a building, esp a school
  2. mainly US and Canadian a person employed to clean and maintain a building, esp the public areas in a block of flats or office building; porter
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Derived Formsjanitorial (ˌdʒænɪˈtɔːrɪəl), adjectivejanitress, fem n

Word Origin for janitor

C17: from Latin: doorkeeper, from jānua door, entrance, from jānus covered way (compare Janus 1); 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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper