yeo·man [yōmən] n. 1. An attendant, servant, or lesser official in a royal or noble household. 2. A petty officer or noncommissioned officer in the Royal Navy or Marines in charge of signals. 3. A farmer who cultivates his own land, especially a member of a former class of small freeholders in England.
Synonyms: beefeater, yeoman of the guard
Etymology: 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"]
How does one word end up with so many distinct meanings? Strange, eh?
Well we've only one more day left now. Just keep swimming.