from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A private secretary or other close attendant.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. a close attendant
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A servant or assistant; especially, formerly, the private servant of a scholar; by extension, a private secretary or amanuensis.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a close attendant (as to a scholar)
This reminds me -- not unpleasantly -- of the "famulus" social-engineering familiars in Ian McDonald's brilliant novel Out on Blue Six.
Clothahump turned from trying to refocus a finger on the jeering famulus and glanced angrily at the otter.
It wasn't long before the famulus came speeding back.
Selecting a long hanging limb, the famulus attached himself to it and tucked his wings cloaklike around his body.
She was curious about the functions of a famulus, and he readily supplied her with a long list of the mostly unpleasant activities he was regularly required to perform.
Another bolt missed the famulus by a greater margin than the first, shattered a row of glass containers on a high shelf.
Clothahump's famulus Mulwit stood there, rustling his great wings as he spoke to Jon-Tom, who knelt on one knee to respond to the owl.
The rest of them assembled in Clothahump's central workshop, Viz sharing a perch and whispered conversation with the wizard's famulus, Mulwit.
"Wizardry was not spoken of, " the famulus responded.
"I didn't call for you, " Clothahump admonished the famulus.