Friday’s Word of the Day Haiku – Factotum


Happy Friday to you! Today’s Word of the Day from is “Factotum.” The expanded definition is:

  1. any employee or official having many different responsibilities.
  2. a person, as a handyman or servant, employed to do all kinds of work around the house.
Origin of factotum
Factotum has roots in the Latin facere meaning “to make; do” and tōtus meaning “all.” It entered English in the mid-1500s. offers a more expanded description:

“If you’re running late and still need to iron your clothes and make breakfast, but can’t find your shoes, you may wish you had a factotum, or a servant who does a variety of odd job for their employer.

Factotum sounds like the two words “fact” and “totem” spliced together, but this curious noun originally come from the Latin words that mean “do” and “everything.” In current times, since servants aren’t typical anymore, we might call someone who has a paid job like this a jack-of-all-trades or possibly a personal assistant.”

Having been a stay-at-home mom for a number of years as well as performing my current day job as an Executive Administrative Assistant, this is a word that really resonates with me. How have I not heard it before?

Well, it could have something to do with the fact that this is just another one of those historical words that doesn’t really apply in our modern culture…or does it? I can think of at least one application of this word that is true to it’s original meaning. I give you the modern “housewife”, “homemaker”, stay-at-home mom (or dad) who provides a variety of services, often for free. Though some will say that their rewards are intangible things like love, fulfillment and joy. But having lived the life, I can tell you that it is a paycheck that validates what we consider to be “work.”  At any rate, I will leave you with a trio of Haiku that hopefully make good use of this “new” old word.

And…it’s the weekend you know. Don’t work too hard!

They cook, clean, parent
unsung, unpaid factotums
also called “Mothers”!

Admins do-it-all!
They are office factotums
“Duties as assigned.”

When something breaks down
call a handy factotum
a hero with tools!

kat ~ 4 March 2016

Have a great weekend! And don’t forget, you too can join the Dictionary Word of the Day Haiku Challenge. Click HERE to learn more and play along. Some of the words this week were real doozies. I’m interested to see if anyone took the challenge!


18 responses to “Friday’s Word of the Day Haiku – Factotum

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