July 19, 2016
- janitor (noun)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : doorkeeper2 : a person who has the care of a building
- How do you use it?
- The janitor at our school likes to kid around, and if you say to him, "See you later," he'll reply, "Not if I see you first."
- Are you a word wiz?
"Janitor" goes back to the root word "janus." "Janus" was also the name of something in the past. Who or what do you think had the name "Janus"?In ancient Rome, "janus" was not only a word meaning "gate" or "arch," but also the name of an ancient Roman god associated with doorways, gates, and beginnings. Images of Janus show him with two faces, one pointing forward and one backward. The Latin noun "janus" is the ancestor of our "janitor." English speakers have used "janitor" to mean "doorkeeper" since at least the early 1600s, eventually also applying it to a person who takes care of a building. "January"—the name of the month that opens the door to a new year—is another descendant of "janus."