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 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. 2019

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



Scot, US and Canadian the caretaker of a building, esp a school
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
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper