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A.Word.A.Day--janissary

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janissary (JAN-i-ser-ee) also janizary (-ZER-ee) noun

1. A member of a group of elite, highly loyal supporters.

2. A soldier in an elite Turkish guard organized in the 14th century and abolished in 1826.

[French janissaire, from Old French jehanicere, from Old Italian giannizero, from Ottoman Turkish yani cheri, new army : yani, new + cheri, special troops (from Middle Persian cherih, bravery, victory, from cher, brave, victorious, from Avestan chairya-, vigorous, brave).]

"Their duty is to add to the status of the place they serve; decorative janissaries, at least as cool as any potential customer and rather more so in most cases, including mine." Ian Jack, Bouncers in Prada make service fashionable Ian Jack's Notebook, The Independent, Sep 18, 1999.

This week's theme: words to describe people.

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