The excellent archivist Leslie Fields (whose work you can read about here) has reminded me of the excellent word wayzgoose, which I’ve always loved; a moment’s work showed me that 1) I have never mentioned it on LH, and 2) the OED just updated their entry last December, so without further ado, here ’tis:
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈweɪzɡuːs/, U.S. /ˈweɪzˌɡus/
Inflections: Plural wayzgooses, (rare) wayzgeese.
Etymology: Apparently a variant or alteration of another lexical item. Etymon: waygoose n. [s.v. waygoose: It has been suggested that a goose was the main dish served at such an event, but this cannot be substantiated, and it is unclear whether the second element is to be identified with goose n. There do not appear to be plural forms of this word modelled on geese, plural of goose n. (but compare the plural forms cited at wayzgoose n.).]
Apparently an alteration of waygoose n., after wase n., originally as an attempt to provide an etymology (by Nathan Bailey; compare quot. 1731 at main sense).
There is no secure independent evidence for the sense ‘stubble goose’ posited by Bailey.
The rare plural form wayzgeese (after geese, plural of goose n.) usually appears alongside wayzgooses in contexts showing uncertainty over the correct form.
An entertainment given by a master printer to his workmen around St Bartholomew’s Day (24 August), marking the beginning of the season of working by candlelight. In later use: an annual festivity held in summer by the members of a printing establishment, consisting of a dinner and (usually) an excursion into the country. Cf. earlier waygoose n.
1731 N. Bailey Universal Etymol. Eng. Dict. (ed. 5) Wayz, a Bundle of Straw. Wayz-goose, a Stubble-Goose, an Entertainment given to Journeymen at the beginning of Winter.
1837 Colonial Times (Hobart, Tasmania) 12 Sept. 300/2 It is customary, all over the world, for journeymen printers to give their masters a dinner, on a fixed day, which dinner is called a ‘Wayse Goose’.
1875 J. Southward Dict. Typogr. 137 The wayzgoose generally consists of a trip into the country, open air amusements, a good dinner, and speeches and toasts afterwards.
1895 Surrey Mirror 23 Aug. 2/7 The members of the typographical staffs of the Surrey Advertiser (Guildford) and the Surrey Mirror (Redhill) had their wayzgoose on Saturday last, when they journeyed to Brighton.
1956 Yale Univ. Libr. Gaz. 30 133 This wayzgoose of the Honorable Company of College Printers affords a most appropriate time..to speak about Franklin and his press.
2005 Cheshire Life Aug. 285/1 The staff of WH Evans & Sons Ltd, Printers, enjoy a wayzgoose (traditional printers’ outing) at Ristorante Sergio.
The first two cites for the earlier waygoose are:
1682 in W. R. Scott Rec. Sc. Cloth Manuf. New Mills 31 To write to the master to give the servants there way-gouse the night befor the fareiday of Haddington and bestow upon itt 15 s. sterling.
1683 J. Moxon Mech. Exercises II. 361 These Way-gooses, are always kept about Bartholomew-tide. And till the Master-Printer have given this Way-goose, the Journey-men do not use to Work by Candle Light.
As I told Leslie, I’ve never had the opportunity to take part in one, but I fervently support the institution. Long live wayzgeese!