One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An employee who does all kinds of work.‘he was employed as the general factotum’
odd-job man, handyman, general handyman, general employee, man of all work, maid of all work, jack of all trades, personal assistantView synonyms
- ‘She is perpetually and dangerously angry, bluntly refusing - although employed in a factotum capacity - to perform many of the chores she is given, often colouring her refusal with some venomous invective.’
- ‘Emily, as her loyal factotum explains, is happiest and best at taking care of other people.’
- ‘His factotum, George Dolby, records that Dickens would nerve himself one hour into each journey with a draught of brandy.’
- ‘Later, impersonating the family's trusted factotum, Oreo confronts an officious medical professional.’
- ‘They are attended by the soulless shades of their most fanatical worshippers, courtiers, and factotums.’
- ‘Hans, talented in many ways, was a general factotum in Maye's.’
- ‘Alain Locke's role as a general factotum of the Harlem Renaissance has tended to overshadow the full dimensions of an active and productive life.’
- ‘I've heard politicians and their factotums express themselves in this way about people who are so angry they can barely express themselves, or who have grievances that they cannot articulate properly.’
- ‘Artificer, constructor, factotum, a man who loves impossible bets, he says: ‘How did the idea come to me to construct the greatest globe of the world in the world?’’
- ‘An indication of the old Greenock club's decline was the declaration of only two substitutes, one of whom was Ally Maxwell, who fulfils a number of roles from coach to general factotum.’
- ‘I quickly grasped, however, that if not the factotum of the city, he was very well connected in a certain subculture whose existence I was just, by hearsay, becoming aware of.’
- ‘When his grandson was born in 1604, his family of three had four servants, apart from his factotum and sole studio assistant, Francisco de Preboste.’
- ‘Mme D. likes to pull strings, and uses her pallid lady's companion, the spinster Capulat, as her factotum.’
- ‘He worked as a general factotum at Keadeen Hotel for 37 years.’
Mid 16th century (originally in the phrases dominum (or magister factotum), translating roughly as ‘master of everything’, and Johannes factotem ‘John do-it-all’ or ‘Jack of all trades’): from medieval Latin, from Latin fac! ‘do!’ (imperative of facere) + totum ‘the whole thing’ (neuter of totus).
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