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This obscure and mysterious term has piqued my interest. Glaister's "Glossary
of the Book" (1979) gives the following definition:
"waygoose: originally the name of the annual feast given by a master printer
for his journeyman and apprentices. Writing in 1683 Moxon stated 'These
Waygooses are alway kept about Bartholomew-tide. And till the Master-Printer
have given this Way-goose, the Journey-men do not use to Work by
The term is still used to describe the annual outing or dinner held by or
for the members of a printing works. The word, which is also spelled
Wayzgoose, is of obscure origin, but if it is ever discovered that the many
French printers who worked in England in the warly 16th century still ate the
the traditionally French dish goose (Fr. oie) at their communal feasts, the
source of this, as of so many printing trade terms may have been traced.
Records show that in 16 th century Antwerp the word gansdach (goose day) was
used for a printer's feast."
No mention is made here of a German origin, but...it struck my fancy that
perhaps goose was selected for this important moment in a printer's career as
some sort of rememberance for their Founder, Johann Gensfleisch zum Gutenberg
(gens= goose, fleisch= meat).
Okay, what do you all think?