majordomo was our Word of the Day on 05/02/2017. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
Majordomo has relatives in Spanish ("mayordomo") and Italian (the now obsolete "maiordomo"), and English speakers borrowed the term from one of these languages. All three words - "majordomo," "mayordomo," and "maiordomo" - ultimately come from the Medieval Latin major domus, meaning "chief of the house." In its earliest uses, "majordomo" referred to the head steward of a royal household. The position was a high one with some relatively weighty responsibilities. Later, in the U.S., the word was used for the steward or overseer of a ranch. Since then, the word's meaning has extended even further; today, "majordomo" can designate any person who takes charge of another's affairs, be they business or personal.
Origin and Etymology of majordomo
Spanish mayordomo or obsolete Italian maiordomo, from Medieval Latin major domus, literally, chief of the house
First Known Use: 1589
MAJORDOMO Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of majordomo for English Language Learners
: the person who runs a large house
: someone who runs an organization or a project
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