janissary

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

An illustration of a janissary (sense 1) from Ioannina, Greece, by Otto Magnus von Stackelberg

Ultimately from Turkish yeniçeri, from yeni (modern, new) + çeri (army), through an intermediate form in a European language such as French janissaire, Italian giannizzero, ianizzero (plural giannizzeri, ianizzeri), Latin Ianizari, Ienizari, Portuguese janizaro, or Spanish genizaro. Compare Dutch janitsaar, German Janitschar.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

janissary (plural janissaries)

  1. (historical) An infantry soldier, often Christian, in a former elite Osmannic guard (disbanded in 1826); by extension, any Turkish soldier, particularly one escorting a traveller.
  2. (figuratively) An elite, highly loyal supporter.

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