yeoman's service

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

An allusion to stouthearted, dutiful labor performed by a yeoman.

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

yeoman's service

  1. (idiomatic, of behavior by a person) Arduous work, performed in a vigorous, committed manner.
    • 1891, Charlotte Mary Yonge, Unknown to History, ch. 7:
      He hath done yeoman's service, and proved himself staunch and faithful.
  2. (idiomatic, of an object or characteristic) Reliable, useful, capable service.
    • c. 1600, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, act 5, sc. 2:
      I once did hold it, as our statists do,
      A baseness to write fair and labour'd much
      How to forget that learning, but, sir, now
      It did me yeoman's service.
    • 1827, Sir Walter Scott, The Chronicles of the Canongate, ch. 1:
      [O]n many occasions his liberality did him genuine yeoman's service.