A majordomo is a person who speaks, makes arrangements, or takes charge for another. Typically, this is the highest (major) person of a household (domūs or domicile) staff, a head servant who acts on behalf of the owner of a large or significant residence.
A majordomo may also, more informally, be someone who oversees the day-to-day responsibilities of a business enterprise. Historically, many institutions and governments – monasteries, cathedrals, and cities – as well as noble and royal houses also had the post of majordomo, who usually was in charge of finances.
The origin is from maior domūs (Latin for '"principal of the house"'), and it was borrowed into English from Spanish mayordomo or obsolete Italian maiordomo. Also, it is found as French majordome, modern Italian maggiordomo, Portuguese and Galician mordomo, and Romanian and Catalan as majordom.
Examples in fiction
In Les Misérables, Major Domo oversees proceedings at the wedding of Marius and Cosette, in the stage version, introducing M. and Mme. Thenardier to the wedding waltzers.
Walter Slezak as Maurice Clavell in the comedy film Come September (1961) not only plays the role of Rock Hudson's majordomo, but also takes advantage of his employer's absence to turn the luxurious Italian villa into a resort hotel.
In the U.S. television sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, the Clampetts go to England and are introduced to the majordomo of the castle they bought, and believe that is his rank in the army and his last name. When he tries to correct them by saying his last name is Faversham, they think Faversham is an English greeting instead.
In the 1979–1984 TV series Hart to Hart, Max, played by Lionel Stander serves as the majordomo, servant and loyal butler to wealthy millionaire protagonists Jonathan and Jennifer Hart (played by Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers respectively). Frequently stepping in to the rescue or otherwise intervening on behalf of the Harts, Stander won Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film in 1982 for his role.
In the show Liberty's Kids, Lady Phillips refers Moses and Benjamin Franklin's majordomo.
Michael Carter portrayed the twi'lek Bib Fortuna, Jabba the Hutt's majordomo, in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. Fortuna screens visitors, handles low-level bargaining, as well as carrying out Jabba's wishes in the court.
The character Jonathan Higgins (portrayed by John Hillerman) served as the majordomo of the Robin's Nest estate in the Magnum, P.I. series. For the 2018 reboot, Higgins was re-written as a woman, named Juliet Higgins where she is portrayed by Perdita Weeks.
In the 1991 Disney animated film Beauty and the Beast, in addition to being the head butler, Cogsworth also has the position of the castle majordomo, before and after his enchantment as a mantel clock.
In the 1994 film The Lion King, the character Zazu, a red-billed hornbill voiced by Rowan Atkinson, serves as majordomo (or as he introduces himself, "majordodo") to Mufasa and later his son Simba after he became king.
In a play on the word, the 2018 film Isle of Dogs includes a character named Major-Domo who serves as a majordomo.
In the 2021 Disney series The Book of Boba Fett, a majordomo speaks in place of the mayor of Mos Espa.
In the 2021 web television adaption of Foundation, Eto Demerzel serves as the emperor's majordomo.
- Kouropalates (curopalate)
- Maître d'hôtel
- Mayor of the Palace
- Papal majordomo