Yeoman (rank)

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The word yeoman is rooted in the Old English, 'iunge man' or, 'young man' or 'yonge man', and this meaning possibly combined with 'geaman', 'geman', or 'gauman', meaning district, villager, or countryman rustic. In the 15th century, a 'yeoman' was also a farmer of middling social status who owned his own land and often farmed it himself into prosperity. In German occupational and social standing, the 'yeoman farmer' is known as a 'Freibauer' (meaning freehold farmer). In this context the term is similar to the Russian "Kulak".

In the Middle Ages a 'yeoman' was identified as a rank, or position in a noble or royal household with titles such as Yeoman of the Chamber, Yeoman of the Crown, Yeoman Usher, King's Yeoman, and various others. Most duties were connected with protecting the sovereign and dignitaries as a bodyguard, attending the sovereign with various tasks as needed, or duties assigned to his office.

Naval usage

In several English-speaking navies and coast guards, "yeoman" is a non-commissioned officer rating (i.e., skill category), with petty officer and warrant officer ranks within the category. In general, a yeoman specializes in administration.

The (UK) Royal Navy uses the term "Yeoman of Signals" is a signalling/tactical communications petty officer, which would be called a communications technician in the U.S.

See also