factotum

play
noun fac·to·tum \fak-ˈtō-təm\

Definition of factotum

  1. 1 :  a person having many diverse activities or responsibilities

  2. 2 :  a general servant

factotum was our Word of the Day on 02/06/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of factotum in a Sentence

  1. He was the office factotum.

Recent Examples of factotum from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'factotum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

"Do everything!" That's a tall order, but it is exactly what a factotum is expected to do. It's also a literal translation of the New Latin term factotum, which in turn traces to the Latin words facere ("to do") and totum ("everything"). In the 16th century, factotum was used in English much like a surname, paired with first names to create personalities such as "Johannes Factotum" (literally "John Do-everything"). Back then, it wasn't necessarily desirable to be called a factotum; the term was a synonym of "meddler" or "busybody." Now the word is more often used for a handy, versatile individual responsible for many different tasks.

Origin and Etymology of factotum

New Latin, literally, do everything, from Latin fac (imperative of facere do) + totum everything


FACTOTUM Defined for English Language Learners

factotum

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noun

Definition of factotum for English Language Learners

  • : a person whose job involves doing many different types of work


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done merely as a duty

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