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Majordomo or major-domo

  • Majordomo and major-domo are alternative spellings of the same, compound word. A compound word is a word derived from two separate words used together to create another word. Compound words are new words that have a different meaning than the definitions of the original words. Compound words are usually composed of two nouns, or of an adjective and a noun. New compound words usually consist of two, separate words, and are called open compound words. Midway through their evolution, compound words may acquire hyphens between the two words. When a compound becomes a closed compound word, which consists of two words joined without any hyphen or space, it has usually been in use for a long time. The advent of the internet has sped up the process of becoming a closed compound word. Understanding words that are compound words will expand one’s basic English vocabulary. We will examine the meaning of the word majordomo or major-domo, its etymology, and some examples of its use in a sentence or two.


     

    A majordomo or major-domo is the head of a large household staff, the one who is the manger or supervisor of a large household. In many cases, the majordomo or major-domo is the butler or chief steward. The term majordomo or major-domo may also mean anyone who is in charge of managing one’s affairs, whether it be personal or business. The term majordomo or major-domo came into use in the 1580s and is imported from either the Italian word, maggiordomo, or the Spanish word, mayordomo. All of these terms were derived from the Latin expression major domus, which translates as chief of the household. The Oxford Dictionary prefers the hyphenated form, major-domo, but other dictionaries prefer the closed compound form, majordomo. According to Google Ngram, the closed compound form is currently about twice as popular as the hyphenated spelling.

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    Examples

    Unlike The Impresario, the role of Majordomo retains spoken dialogue, while all other characters — cast as “serious” musicians or not — sing. (The San Francisco Classical Voice)

    “The heaviest trees take two or three guys to do them,” said Sandy Bushue, the majordomo of the operation, of the effort to get the trees prepped for sale starting the day after Thanksgiving. (Inside Nova)

    Bannon, the former major-domo at Breitbart News and onetime Trump White House strategist, was talking about the idea of a “deep state.” (The Washington Examiner)

    Ken Wornick, longtime supporter of the Sonoma International Film Festival and major-domo of his Hydeout estate and vineyards off Hyde Road, will host an outdoor, under-the-stars screening of “Stop Making Sense,” Jonathan Demme’s acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert film, to benefit SIFF. (Sonoma Index-Tribune)


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