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February 10, 2020

Word of the Day: Majordomo

1 CQ

Word of the Day : May 2, 2017

majordomo \may-jer-DOH-moh\ noun


1 : a head steward of a large household (such as a palace)

2 : butler, steward

3 : a person who speaks, makes arrangements, or takes charge for another; broadly : the person who runs an enterprise


"Arriving at the Palace, he was informed that His Highness had gone out shortly after breakfast, and had not returned. The majordomo gave the information with a tinkle of disapproval in his voice." — P. G. Wodehouse, The Prince and Betty, 1912

"When Hinton died, his will transferred half of his interest in the property to Robert Kelly, an Army buddy who was working as Hinton's majordomo at the ranch." — John Cannon, The San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 May 2015

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.

Aired May 2, 2017

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