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90s Slang You Should Know


[yoh-muh n] /ˈyoʊ mən/
noun, plural yeomen.
a petty officer in a navy, having chiefly clerical duties in the U.S. Navy.
British. a farmer who cultivates his own land.
History/Historical. one of a class of lesser freeholders, below the gentry, who cultivated their own land, early admitted in England to political rights.
  1. a servant, attendant, or subordinate official in a royal or other great household.
  2. a subordinate or assistant, as of a sheriff or other official or in a craft or trade.
of, pertaining to, composed of, or characteristic of yeomen:
the yeoman class.
performed or rendered in a loyal, valiant, useful, or workmanlike manner, especially in situations that involve a great deal of effort or labor:
He did a yeoman job on the problem.
Origin of yeoman
1300-50; Middle English yeman, yoman, probably reduced forms of yengman, yongman, yungman, with similar sense; see young, man1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for yeomen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He noted that he was level with the yeomen, and he knew that from the point where he saw them the road took a wide curve inland.

    The Northern Iron George A. Birmingham
  • The yeomen, summoned from Ballintoy, had arrived at Dunseveric House.

    The Northern Iron George A. Birmingham
  • But the yeos (meaning the yeomen) will call out mightily,—'Piper!

  • The yeomen were eagerly watching their comrades' attempts to force the door.

    The Northern Iron George A. Birmingham
  • The bottom of the hall was thronged with yeomen of the guard, halberdiers, and henchmen.

    Windsor Castle William Harrison Ainsworth
  • These were very different from the yeomen he had seen at Dunseveric.

    The Northern Iron George A. Birmingham
  • Against him were ranged the citizens, the gentry, many even of the lords and the sober well-informed part of the yeomen.

    St George's Cross H. G. Keene
  • We won't have another company of yeomen to vouch for our characters.

    The Northern Iron George A. Birmingham
  • She brought with her a hundred yeomen of her guard and a score of ladies and gentlemen.

British Dictionary definitions for yeomen


noun (pl) -men
  1. a member of a class of small freeholders of common birth who cultivated their own land
  2. an assistant or other subordinate to an official, such as a sheriff, or to a craftsman or trader
  3. an attendant or lesser official in a royal or noble household
(in Britain) another name for yeoman of the guard
(modifier) characteristic of or relating to a yeoman
a petty officer or noncommissioned officer in the Royal Navy or Marines in charge of signals
Word Origin
C15: perhaps from yongman young man
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for yeomen



c.1300, "attendant in a noble household," of unknown origin, perhaps a contraction of Old English iunge man "young man," or from an unrecorded Old English *geaman, equivalent of Old Frisian gaman "villager," from Old English -gea "district, village," cognate with Old Frisian ga, ge, from Proto-Germanic *gaujan.

Sense of "commoner who cultivates his land" is recorded from early 15c.; also the third order of fighting men (late 14c., below knights and squires, above knaves), hence yeomen's service "good, efficient service" (c.1600). Meaning "naval petty officer in charge of supplies" is first attested 1660s. Yeowoman first recorded 1852: "Then I am yeo-woman O the clumsy word!" [Tennyson, "The Foresters"]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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