The OED defines this noun as: “A person who has charge of or looks after a specified thing or operation, esp. in the course of employment. Without defining word esp.: = baby-minder.” There are many variants, in the realms of public relations, crime and sport, where it refers to a goalkeeper.
Indeed, one indication that minder has moved to NOOB status is this recent quote from a New York Times blog about (U.S.) college hockey: “Patterson had 44 saves on the weekend, Tigers’ net minder Josh Thorimbert had 73.”
There was also this from the Times capsule review of “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked”: “The furry guys and the Chipettes, the gal pals they acquired in an earlier installment of the franchise, find themselves shipwrecked along with their human minder, Dave (Jason Lee).”
In a similar human-on-animal way, there is a dog-walking company in Philadelphia called Monster Minders.
If further proof is needed, I offer the fact that minder recently figured in the popular TV series “Gossip Girl.” I confess I couldn’t udnerstand the references I found on the web, so I turned to my colleague Dawn Fallik, a “GG” aficionado, for explanation. She did not disappoint:
Blair was married to King Louis. She never really loved him, so she came back to New York while he headed to Monaco. But he send a royal minder to watch over her every move, so that he’d find out if Blair cheated on him, thereby annulling the marriage and costing Blair big money in dowry. Alas, it turns out the minder was secretly in love with the prince and did all she could to help Blair slut around. The minder is now back in Monaco.