jan·​is·​sary | \ ˈja-nə-ˌser-ē How to pronounce janissary (audio) , -ˌzer- \
variants: or less commonly janizary
plural janissaries also janizaries

Definition of janissary

1 often capitalized : a soldier of an elite corps of Turkish troops organized in the 14th century and abolished in 1826
2 : a member of a group of loyal or subservient troops, officials, or supporters

Examples of janissary in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Süleyman sent him 2,000 janissaries, the elite of the Ottoman army. National Geographic, "This 16th-century corsair was the most feared pirate of the Mediterranean," 8 Oct. 2019

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

First Known Use of janissary

1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for janissary

Italian gianizzero, from Turkish yeniçeri, from yeni new + çeri soldier

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The first known use of janissary was in 1529

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Cite this Entry

“Janissary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/janissary. Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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