What is a Wayzgoose?

A wayzgoose (British; precise origin unknown) is an annual event for printers and publishers that occurs in late fall. Traditionally, it marked the time after which printers could no longer work by daylight, and had to use candles. The master printer would throw a party for his staff, usually an excursion into the countryside, with much feasting and merrymaking.


At Wayzgoose Press, while we rarely dirty our hands with actual ink, we still honor the craft of making books-from authoring to editing to designing to publishing. Our staff are all former industry professionals who are committed to bringing fresh new genre fiction and literary non-fiction to the reading public.

 

Hunting the Wayzgoose

Wayzgoose for Coventry printers at Stonebridge, circa 1907.
From a photograph by O.W. Barry.


by Dorothy E. Zemach, Senior Editor, Wayzgoose Press

When I was growing up, my family did not consider it cheating to page through the dictionary while playing Scrabble, searching for unknown words that might match one’s letters (though it was considered unsporting for some reason to look at the cover of the box while doing a jigsaw puzzle). It was on just such a romp through the W’s that I stumbled across the most intriguing word I’ve ever met in the English language: wayzgoose. It looks good. It sounds good. And it even has a good definition. It’s not, as so many of those crossword puzzle answers turn out to be, an obsolete monetary unit of South America or an endangered rodent. A wayzgoose is—and I quote—“An annual festivity held in summer by the employees of a printing establishment, consisting of a dinner and usually an excursion into the country (British).” In spite of its appeal, however, it’s not an easy word to work into casual, everyday conversation, unless you go for something obvious, like, “Hey, I bet you’ll never guess what wayzgoose means.” And so I tucked it in one of those back corners of my brain reserved for important but not often needed information, like when I’d had my last tetanus booster and the location of my birth certificate.

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