Definition of factotum in English:



  • An employee who does all kinds of work.

    ‘he was employed as the general factotum’
    • ‘Emily, as her loyal factotum explains, is happiest and best at taking care of other people.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Hans, talented in many ways, was a general factotum in Maye's.’
    • ‘Later, impersonating the family's trusted factotum, Oreo confronts an officious medical professional.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His factotum, George Dolby, records that Dickens would nerve himself one hour into each journey with a draught of brandy.’
    • ‘Mme D. likes to pull strings, and uses her pallid lady's companion, the spinster Capulat, as her factotum.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They are attended by the soulless shades of their most fanatical worshippers, courtiers, and factotums.’
    • ‘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?’’
    • ‘He worked as a general factotum at Keadeen Hotel for 37 years.’
    • ‘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.’
    odd-job man, general employee, man of all work, maid of all work, jack of all trades, personal assistant
    girl friday, man friday
    body man
    View synonyms


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).