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, 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

Learn More About janissary

Time Traveler for janissary

Time Traveler

The first known use of janissary was in 1529

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near janissary



janissary music

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for janissary

Cite this Entry

“Janissary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/janissary. Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on janissary

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about janissary


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!