Yéoman. n.s. [Of this word the original is much doubted: the true etymology seems to be that of Junius, who derives it from geman, Frisick, a villager.]
- A man of a small estate in land; a farmer; a gentleman farmer.
Gentlemen should use their children as the honest farmers and substantial yeomen do theirs. Locke.
He that has a spaniel by his side is a yeoman of about one hundred pounds a year, an honest man: he is just qualified to kill an hare. Addison.
- It seems to have been anciently a kind of ceremonious title given to soldiers: whence we have still yeomen of the guard.
Tall yeomen seemed they, and of great might,
And were enranged ready still for fight. Fairy Queen.
You, good yeomen,
Whose limbs were made in England, shew us here
The mettle of your pasture. Shakesp. Henry V.
He instituted, for the security of his person, a band of fifty archers, under a captain, to attend him, by the name of yeomen of his guard. Bacon's Henry VII.
Th' appointment for th' ensuing night he heard;
And therefore in the cavern had prepar'd
Two brawny yeomen of his trusty guard.
At Windsor St. John whispers me i' th' ear;
The waiters stand in ranks, the yeomen cry
Make way for the dean, as if a duke pass'd by. Swift.
- It was probably a freeholder not advanced to the rank of a gentleman.
His grandfather was Lyonel duke of Clarence,
Third son to the third Edward king of England:
Spring crestless yeomen from so deep a root? Shak. H. VI.
- It seems to have had likewise the notion of a gentleman servant.
A jolly yeoman, marshal of the hall,
Whose name was appetite, he did bestow
Both guests and meats. Spenser.