Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The head steward or butler in the household of a sovereign or great noble.
  • noun A steward or butler.
  • noun One who makes arrangements or directs affairs for another.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun See water-master.
  • noun A man employed to superintend the management of a household, especially that of a sovereign or other dignitary keeping a great establishment; a house-steward.

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

  • noun A man who has authority to act, within certain limits, as master of the house; a steward; also, a chief minister or officer.

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

  • noun The head steward or butler of a large household.
  • noun Somebody who makes arrangements or directs affairs for another.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the chief steward or butler of a great household

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Italian maggiordomo or Spanish mayordomo, both from Medieval Latin māior domūs : Latin māior, chief; see meg- in Indo-European roots + Latin domūs, genitive of domus, house; see dem- in Indo-European roots.]

Examples

  • The mom and dad need an assistant as much as the kids need a nanny, so I like to think of my job title as major-domo.

    Nancy Ruhling: Astoria Characters: The Stand-Up Nanny

  • The mom and dad need an assistant as much as the kids need a nanny, so I like to think of my job title as major-domo.

    Nancy Ruhling: Astoria Characters: The Stand-Up Nanny

  • "We call this place the 'United Nations' for weddings," said Ben Sarfarazi, Martin's affable major-domo, who himself hails from Iran.

    As diversity grows, Md. catering hall becomes a 'United Nations for weddings'

  • Which I'm bound to say we did - mind you, our association wasn't a long one, but while it lasted I thoroughly enjoyed myself, playing major-domo in his household, for that's what it amounted to, as I soon discovered.

    Fiancée

  • May it be a long war, thinks I, watching her bouncing out of sight, and then my attention was taken by the major-domo, muttering the eternal "Pajalsta, excellence," and leading me up the broad, creaky staircase, along a turning passage, and finally halting at a broad door.

    The Sky Writer

  • The White House major-domo glowered as the elderly black waitress wept quietly while serving.

    The Cobra by Frederick Forsyth

  • And then, about ten days after I had started galloping her, a couple of Ruski staff captains jingled into the courtyard one morning, to be followed by a large horse-sled, and shortly afterwards comes the Count's major-domo to East and me, presenting his apologies, and chivvying us off to our rooms.

    The Sky Writer

  • In the course of these preparations, the last person who was disturbed, excepting the physician himself, was the knight of Scotland, whom, about three in the morning, a sort of major-domo, or master of the household, acquainted that he must arise.

    The Talisman

  • There's also Zazu, the royal family's major-domo, a gabby hornbill spouting unsolicited wisdom.

    A Magic Kingdom

  • Bush was instead the president as major-domo: a succession of patrons from Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan had found uses for his excellent manners and his obliging nature in subordinate roles and then had left him to manage the national estate just as the bills were coming due.

    America Changes The Guard

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "The major-domo departed with several attendants to execute his master's commands." Ivanhoe

    July 9, 2009