I watched all the seasons of Enterprise and now started on The Original Series.

In one of the 1st episodes, Cpt. Kirk gives orders to a Yeoman, something I haven't encountered previously in the Enterprise series.

What and who are these? Are they human? Are they some sort of personal 'slave(s)'?

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    "Are they some sort of personal 'slave(s)'?" Outside of slash fiction, no. – Paul D. Waite Jul 24 '13 at 15:44
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    A quick hit on google for star trek yeoman returned several hits. A yeoman is a petty officer, third class. – Jim Green Jul 24 '13 at 15:47
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    Yeoman is also a real word. Pretty easy to google, and in turn, figure out what it means in Star Trek. – Andres F. Jul 24 '13 at 16:11
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    @Aerus, Just keep in mind that Star Trek pretty heavily subscribes to the space navy trope. When in doubt, look at the navy. – Zoredache Jul 24 '13 at 17:37
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    @Zoredache: "the navy" ... that's an organization faaaar away that does something with military ships. Unless you happen to live in an English-speaking place and have some ties to the military, the word "yeoman" is pretty obscure. I don't think I have ever encountered it outside of Star Trek, and with this being Star Trek, the first assumption can quite reasonably be that it's an in-universe scifi thing rather than an actual English term. Upvoted the question for being clearly stated, not obvious, and answerable. – O. R. Mapper Aug 2 '15 at 19:53

Actually while KHW's answer and the comments by other users are close they aren't quite hitting the mark on what a Yeoman is. In the context used, as well as in the real world a Yeoman is a RATE not a rank. A rate in the United States maritime entities (US Navy and US Coast Guard) is your job, not your rank (or position) The Yeoman rating (abreviated as YN in both sea going services) is an administrative expert who's two main jobs are pay and personnel issues. In the context of Star Trek they serve in a similar fashion to a personal secretary to the Commanding Officer, or an Aide-de-camp. A Yeoman is an enlisted person who has been to a Yeoman "A" school. Upon completion of school they hold the rank of Petty Officer 3rd Class (YN3 or E-4) and can advance all the way to the rank of Master Chief (YNCM or E-9)

Just to give a bit of reference I was married to an Yeoman for 12 years, and am myself in the US Coast Guard so I know a thing or two about the subject.

  • Quite true; I was using the less technical / more familiar term for non-military readers, but you are correct, and since it was really a request for a definition, I should have been more precise. – K-H-W Jul 24 '13 at 20:27
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    And here I thought a Yeoman was like a Yes-Man, only hipper. – Omegacron Jul 27 '15 at 18:20
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    @Omegacron I told the yeoman at my unit that joke. They were not amused. I thought it was funny. – Monty129 Jul 28 '15 at 0:24

A Yeoman is not a type of being; it's a rank rate (thanks Monty129.) Star Trek simply inherited the title, much like the other military titles it uses. (Captain, Ensign, Admiral, First Officer, etc.)

Stealing from Memory Alpha :

Yeoman was a Starfleet title with administrative and clerical duties. Starfleet used different rates of yeoman including "yeoman third class" as seen with Tina Lawton. (TOS: "Charlie X") Some yeoman, such as Janice Rand, were enlisted personnel during their time in this position. However, a yeoman could hold the rank of an officer, as seen with Martha Landon (TOS: "The Apple") and an unnamed yeoman assigned to the USS Enterprise-A, who wore an officer's uniform with the rank of lieutenant junior grade. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

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