Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 09-24-2013, 02:14 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 5,567
How much work does a yeoman do?

Every blue moon I see the phrase, "[so-and-so] did yeoman's work." I'm not sure I'm asking the right question- maybe it is a type of work? Or... something I don't understand because I am not familiar with a single yeoman?

What is the story behind working yeomen and their place in idiom?
#2
Old 09-24-2013, 02:52 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 74,865
A yeoman was a farmer who owned his own land (as opposed to working on some lord's land). So as a pre-industrial agricultural worker and an independent businessman, you have to figure he worked very hard indeed.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 09-24-2013 at 02:52 AM.
#3
Old 09-24-2013, 02:53 AM
Robot Mod in Beta Testing
Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 19,731
A "yeoman" was a hard working peasant farmer. To do yeoman's work therefore just means to do a lot of hard, and often tedious and unappreciated work. It isn't a specific unit of work.

For example, if you have a thousand flyers you want to mail out, and one guy folds all of the flyers, stuffs them in the envelope, puts the stamps on them, etc. and basically does all of the grunt work involved, he could be said to have done the yeoman's work in getting the flyers out (especially if the guy who wrote the flyer gets all of the credit for it and the guy doing all the grunt work stuffing the envelope gets none).

A yeoman is also a type of enlisted man in the U.S. Navy. They do a lot of clerical and administrative work, which again is a lot of hard work that most people take for granted and do not appreciate.
#4
Old 09-24-2013, 12:41 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 754
I thought a yeoman was one of those guys with the red shirts on Star Trek.
#5
Old 09-24-2013, 12:49 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 22,351
Yeoman Rand flirted a lot with Kirk. Keeping Kirk satisfied was hard work but somebody had to do it.

Last edited by aceplace57; 09-24-2013 at 12:50 PM.
#6
Old 09-24-2013, 01:00 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 22,351
Seriously, yeoman is an an officer in the U.S. Navy who works as a clerk. They start as a E-1 yeoman seaman recruit and the highest rank is an E-9 Master Chief Yeoman.
http://merriam-webster.com/dictionary/yeoman

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeoman_...States_Navy%29

Last edited by aceplace57; 09-24-2013 at 01:05 PM.
#7
Old 09-24-2013, 01:14 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 5,138
Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Seriously, yeoman is an an officer in the U.S. Navy who works as a clerk.
http://merriam-webster.com/dictionary/yeoman
[nitpic]In the modern parlance, a yeoman is a petty officer in a military navy who does administrative duties. Enlisted, not commissioned. Seriously.[/nicpic]

I've known yeomen in the course of my military career. If I were to characterise the phrase "yeoman's work" by their example, I'd assume you were desparaging the subject's work ethic or attention to detail. Unless you were talking about making the office coffee. That was some good coffee.

(I'm sure there are competent and consciencous yeoman ratings out there; I just never ran into them in my Air Force career.)

The cited Merriam-Webster definition seems to favor an association between its definition 1 ("an attendant or assistant in a royal or noble house") and "yeoman work", defining the latter in terms of "great and loyal service".

This article pooh-poohs this assertion and cites a body of (mostly American) legal and published quotes that demonstrates that "yeoman's work" is hard work... like a peasant freeholding farmer would do, if he didn't want to starve to death after paying his taxes.
#8
Old 09-24-2013, 03:44 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: U.K.
Posts: 12,068
I am much more familiar with the expression "yeoman service" rather than "yeoman's work". "Yeoman service", I think, implies doing a lot of tedious but useful and much appreciated work. It may not be physically hard work, but it a lot of work, probably dull and repetitive, and the speaker who uses the expression is acknowledging their appreciation of what the "yeoman" has done.
#9
Old 09-24-2013, 06:38 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Home of the haggis
Posts: 27,331
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnoitall View Post
I've known yeomen in the course of my military career. If I were to characterise the phrase "yeoman's work" by their example, I'd assume you were desparaging the subject's work ethic or attention to detail.
I wouldn't voice that opinion anywhere near the Yeomen Warders or the Yeomen of the Guard.
#10
Old 09-24-2013, 06:56 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Houston TX
Posts: 2,751
Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Yeoman Rand flirted a lot with Kirk. Keeping Kirk satisfied was hard work but somebody had to do it.
Yes Yes she did and I, belatedly, thank her for it

Capt
#11
Old 05-03-2017, 03:14 PM
SDSAB
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: my Herkimer Battle Jitney
Posts: 71,517
Bumped.

Yeomen are also Oberlin College athletes (the college's motto is "Learning and Labor"): http://goyeo.com/
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:26 PM.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: equivalent abbreviation chanterelle buffy make a parody wet comic canadian southpark pig penis bacon thins nabisco under armour infrared zinc bars superglue strength pedophile joke jeff goldblum poop saran wrap condoms raleigh sc30 the israelites satellite transponder directv pronounce aunt charmed i'm sure in excelsios deo neoprene allergic reaction a fortnight grandstand fenway park too dear ottawa senators mascot raid poison lowes 2x4x10 teddy babe papa spank does tussionex expire herbal cigarettes healthy i wonder how many bronze swords he is handed out why did batman retire in the dark knight returns best city to be homeless in how do you pronounce maria grill lighter fluid in zippo how to cut grass like a baseball field what does tubthumping mean white wine vinegar vs red wine vinegar average wonderlic score by profession best place to sell car parts pressure cooker 15 psi symptoms of water in gas tank chigger bites on genital area your cigarette is backwards what to mix gin with besides tonic what letter is not on the periodic table why is cannabis called pot where to buy spirits of ammonia can the president veto a declaration of war right hand goes numb when sleeping shane and sia barbi nude is a paintball gun considered a firearm what does fitz mean does bestbuy sell ink cartridges is 6 feet tall for a guy neutrogena t-gel lice treatment usa nonprofit org stamp people fired on undercover boss why do cat scratches welt jury duty high group number