Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An attendant, servant, or lesser official in a royal or noble household.
  • noun A yeoman of the guard.
  • noun A petty officer performing chiefly clerical duties in the US Navy.
  • noun An assistant or other subordinate, as of a sheriff.
  • noun A diligent, dependable worker.
  • noun A farmer who cultivates his own land, especially a member of a former class of small freeholders in England.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A retainer; a guard.
  • noun A gentleman attendant in a royal or noble household, ranking between a sergeant and a groom: as, yeoman for the month, a butler; yeoman of the crown; yeoman usher: applied also to attendants of lower grade: as, yeoman feuterer (seefeuterer); yeoman of the chamber; yeoman of the wardrobe. See also phrase yeoman of the guard, below.
  • noun One holding a subordinate position, as an attendant or assistant, journeyman, etc.
  • noun In old English law, one having free land of forty shillings by the year (previously five nobles), who was thereby qualified to serve on juries, vote for knights of the shire, and do any other act for which the law required one who was “probus et legalis homo” (Blackstone, Com., I. xii.); hence, in recent English use, one owning (and usually himself cultivating) a small landed property; a freeholder.
  • noun In the United States navy, an appointed petty officer who has charge of the stores in his department.
  • noun A member of the yeomanry cavalry. See yeomanry, 4.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A common man, or one of the commonly of the first or most respectable class; a freeholder; a man free born.
  • noun obsolete A servant; a retainer.
  • noun engraving A yeoman of the guard; also, a member of the yeomanry cavalry.
  • noun (Naut.) An interior officer under the boatswain, gunner, or carpenters, charged with the stowage, account, and distribution of the stores.
  • noun one of the bodyguard of the English sovereign, consisting of the hundred yeomen, armed with partisans, and habited in the costume of the sixteenth century. They are members of the royal household.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An official providing honorable service in a royal or high noble household, ranking between a squire and a page.
  • noun historical A former class of small freeholders who farm their own land; a commoner of good standing.
  • noun A subordinate, deputy, aide, or assistant.
  • noun A Yeoman Warder.
  • noun A clerk in the US navy, and US Coast Guard.
  • noun nautical In a vessel of war, the person in charge of the storeroom.
  • noun A member of the Yeomanry Cavalry officially chartered in 1794 originating around the 1760s.
  • noun A member of the Imperial Yeomanry officially created in 1890s and renamed in 1907.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun officer in the (ceremonial) bodyguard of the British monarch
  • noun in former times was free and cultivated his own land

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English yeman, yoman, perhaps contraction of yong man, young man (yong, young; see young + man, man; see man), or from Old English *gēaman (from or akin to Old Frisian gāman, villager : , region, district + man, man; see man- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English yoman, yeman, from Old English *gēaman (compare Old Frisian gaman ‘villager’, Middle Dutch goymann ‘arbiter’), compound of , gēa ‘district, region’ (in ælgē, Sūthrigēa), from Proto-Germanic *gawi (compare West Frisian gea, goa, Dutch gouw, German Gau), and mann ‘man’. More at man.

Examples

  • Goodman Mascall, Goodman Cockswet, etc., and in matters of law these and the like are called thus, _Giles Jewd, yeoman; Edward Mountford, yeoman; James Cocke, yeoman; Harry Butcher, yeoman_, etc.; by which addition they are exempt from the vulgar and common sorts.

    Chronicle and Romance (The Harvard Classics Series)

  • The plain Anglo-Saxon yeoman strain which was really the basis of his nature now asserted itself in the growing conservatism of ideas which marked the last forty years of his life.

    A History of English Literature

  • The word yeoman was under stood in the old English sense of the small independent farmers.

    The Lincoln Story Book

  • The word yeoman was under stood in the old English sense of the small independent farmers.

    The Lincoln Story Book

  • The word yeoman is often used as an equivalent term and sometimes the original Scandinavian form _bonde_ is used in English.

    Fritiofs Saga

  • : one unduly fearful of what is foreign and especially of people of foreign origin yeoman

    Archive 2003-10-01

  • Beefeaters are originally called yeoman warders, originally assigned in the 15th century to guard high profile prisoners.

    CNN Transcript Sep 3, 2007

  • “Excuse me, Admiral, I have Captain Bonelli on the secure line,” called the yeoman from the doorway of his office.

    Pressure Point

  • “Excuse me, Admiral, I have Captain Bonelli on the secure line,” called the yeoman from the doorway of his office.

    Pressure Point

  • I may instance his derivation of dismal from Latin dies mali, unpropitious days, derided by Trench, but now known to be substantially correct, and his intelligent conjecture that the much discussed word yeoman 'seemeth to be one word made by contraction of yong man,' an etymology quite recently revived — July 1921 — by the Oxford Dictionary.

    On Dictionaries

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • Used as a way to get someone's attention, like "Yeo, man, get over here".

    June 25, 2007

  • *smirk*

    June 25, 2007

  • Hey, if nobody leaves a comment, I feel forced to say something.

    June 26, 2007

  • Profound lexical collocation with 'of the guard'.

    August 19, 2008

  • It does yeoman's service, as they say.

    September 23, 2008