noun, plural jan·is·sar·ies.

(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 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. 2019

Examples from the Web for janizary

Historical Examples of janizary

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for janizary


janizary (ˈdʒænɪzərɪ)

noun plural -saries or -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 for janissary

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

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