Janitor's closet [+ custodian]

Oquendo

Member
I'm looking for a term to describe the closet where a janitor would keep his/her stuff: brooms, buckets, mops, bleach and so on.

It should be the term one would print on a descriptive sign on the door of such a closet.
 
  • Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    I don't think I knew the word JANITOR when I grew up in England; didn't we call this person the CLEANER? Wouldn't his closet have had the simple word CLEANER written on it when we were at school?
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    At my school (Lancashire, 1960s-70s) it would've said JANITOR or perhaps JANITOR'S STORE. (Definitely not closet.)

    But I'm guessing that Oquendo isn't writing specifically for middle-aged Lancastrians, but is, rather, looking for a term which is: (a) likely; and (b) likely to be understood by as wide an audience as possible.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    They are still called school caretakers and 'closet' is still not in general use in the UK. Anyway it would be used for clothes. "Caretaker's Storeroom" would be my choice for a notice on a door. It might be referred to as the broom cupboard.

    Hermione
     

    Oquendo

    Member
    Thank you all.

    Ewie, you're right, it should be understood by as many people as possible, from UK and elsewhere. I'm specially interested in US, since my readers are often from there.

    Nunty, does AE mean American English?
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    They are still called school caretakers and 'closet' is still not in general use in the UK. Anyway it would be used for clothes. "Caretaker's Storeroom" would be my choice for a notice on a door. It might be referred to as the broom cupboard.

    Hermione
    Ah yes, caretaker !! I couldn't for the life of me find the right name. Janitor is AE, isn't it? Does it sound a little degrading, or am I misinterpreting?
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I've seen signs that say "supplies" and I might be inclined to go with either "supply closet" or "janitors' supply closet".
     

    Nunty

    Modified
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Ah yes, caretaker !! I couldn't for the life of me find the right name. Janitor is AE, isn't it? Does it sound a little degrading, or am I misinterpreting?
    Well, of course I cannot speak for the vagaries of British political correctness, but no. "Cleaner" sounds degrading in AE. The janitor also does routine maintenance.

    The person who opened this thread asked how to word a sign to put on a janitor's closet. I see no reason to introduce other terms.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    In AE (in my experience) the janitors were responsible for maintaining the building. They may or may not have any cleaning responsibilities. There could be a cleaning staff for those responsibilities.

    In my grade school days the janitors did all the painting, cleaning and plumbing, and sometimes (extra-legally) electrical work.
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    Well, of course I cannot speak for the vagaries of British political correctness, but no. "Cleaner" sounds degrading in AE. The janitor also does routine maintenance.

    The person who opened this thread asked how to word a sign to put on a janitor's closet. I see no reason to introduce other terms.
    If we don't agree on the term janitor, then there are plenty of reasons to introduce other terms in the search for a pertinent answer.
     

    Nunty

    Modified
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    It is not up to us to agree, but to answer the very clear and well-formed question that was posed.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Post 3. I was looking for confirmation from native-born English speakers.

    Post 11. it should be understood by as many people as possible, from UK and elsewhere. I'm specially interested in US, since my readers are often from there.

    I don't know how many British speakers are familiar with the word 'janitor'. I remember not knowing it, but I deduced what it meant from the context.

    :)

    Hermione
     

    anamsc

    Senior Member
    English-SF Bay Area
    Ah yes, caretaker !! I couldn't for the life of me find the right name. Janitor is AE, isn't it? Does it sound a little degrading, or am I misinterpreting?
    "Janitor" does not sound degrading to me, but I think that the current PC term is actually "custodian". When I was in school, our teachers would correct us when we said janitor. To this day, though, I still don't know the difference.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    "Janitor" does not sound degrading to me, but I think that the current PC term is actually "custodian". When I was in school, our teachers would correct us when we said janitor. To this day, though, I still don't know the difference.
    Upon reflection (not necessarily "fond reflection") I believe that was the case in East Meadow, NY also. They were called "janitors" but we were supposed to now call them "custodians". This, I suppose, was in lieu of a raise.
     

    Szkot

    Senior Member
    UK English
    In Scotland we have janitors (unofficially jannies) and they are listed as such on official school websites, so I don't think there is a status problem about the name. But they do not have closets; their rooms would probably just have Janitor on the door.
     

    preppie

    Senior Member
    American English (Mostly MidAtlantic)
    To the topic, I have seen the custodian's closet labeled "Maintenance".

    <Off-topic comment removed. Please address the thread topic, or open another thread to discuss other subjects.>
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Well, if things like this and this, not to mention this and this, are anything to go by, the term is very far from unknown in the UK these days (even if I've completely hallucinated the 'janitor' of my boyhood).
    Lots of British people of around my generation know the word janitor because of Hong Kong Phooey, whose alter ego was the "mild-mannered janitor" Penrod Pooch. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_Phooey
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I know it's a 7 years old topic, but I should ask why not "Custodial room" or "Custodial closet"? They sound quite technical terms, but I've seen those in Janitor's room doors.
    Sorry, but they sound to me (in BE) like a room in which somebody would be locked up. :eek:
     

    Esca

    Senior Member
    ATX
    USA - English
    I know it's a 7 year old topic, but I should ask why not "Custodial room" or "Custodial closet"? They sound quite technical terms, but I've seen those in Janitor's room doors.
    I wouldn't use either of these. First, a room to me is larger than a closet--it would likely have a desk in it or something. Also "custodial" doesn't immediately make me think of a custodian's work -- I see it more frequently used to refer to custody of children.
     
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