1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wayzgoose

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WAYZGOOSE, a term for the annual dinner and outing of printers and their employés. The derivation of the term is doubtful. It may be a misspelling for “wasegoose,” from wase, Mid. Eng. for “sheaf,” thus meaning sheaf or harvest goose, the bird that was fit to eat at harvest-time, the “stubble-goose” mentioned by Chaucer in “The Cook's Prologue.” It is more probable that the merry-making which has become particularly associated with the printers' trade was once general, and an imitation of the grand goose-feast annually held at Waes, in Brabant, at Martinmas. The relations of England and Holland were formerly very close, and it is not difficult to believe that any outing or yearly banquet might have grown to be called colloquially a “Waes-Goose.” It is difficult to explain why the term should only have survived in the printing trade, though the English printers owed much to their Dutch fellow-workers. Certainly the goose has long ago parted company with the printers' wayzgoose, which is usually held in July, though it has no fixed season. An unlikely suggestion is that the original wayzgoose was a feast given by an apprentice to his comrades at which the bird formed the staple eatable.