from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One of a former body of Turkish infantry, constituting the Sultan's guard and the main standing army, first organized in the fourteenth century, and until the latter part of the seventeenth century largely recruited from compulsory conscripts and converts taken from the Rayas or Christian subjects.
  • noun A common name of Clepticus parræ, a labroid fish of the West Indian fauna.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A soldier of a privileged military class, which formed the nucleus of the Turkish infantry, but was suppressed in 1826.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Alternative spelling of janissary.


Sorry, no etymologies found.



New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • There's a fairly well-known fife tune from the 18th century called "Janizary's March." I heard that the term comes from the particularly feared, "special forces"-type soldiers of the Ottoman Empire. I noticed that the page janissary has a definition of "loyal supporter." Seems like that probably comes from the same root, if not meaning exactly the same thing.

    January 11, 2008

  • I think they're the same word just variants in spelling. I always knew the definition as 'an elite Turkish guard' as well. 'Loyal supporter' sounds like some one tried to simplify. If you call a person janissary these days chances are you don't mean literally but rather showing a similar loyalty (revolts included, of course).

    January 11, 2008