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  1. a simple past tense and past participle of geld1.


noun Slang.
  1. money.

Origin of gelt2

1890–95; < Yiddish < Middle High German geld money; in earlier British dial. uses < German or Dutch; see geld2


verb (used with object), geld·ed or gelt, geld·ing.
  1. to castrate (an animal, especially a horse).
  2. to take strength, vitality, or power from; weaken or subdue.

Origin of geld1

1250–1300; Middle English gelden < Old Norse gelda
Related formsgeld·er, nounun·geld·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gelt

Historical Examples

  • Gelt stags and bucks have hornless heads, like hinds and does.

    The Natural History of Selborne, Vol. 2

    Gilbert White

  • The Calroza Sisters are sure some lookers and will give you a run for your gelt.


    Sinclair Lewis

  • Se e fr on sore lufe ne mg h dwelian, ne forhtian: heo gewissa, and gescylt, and gelt.

  • Gif he onne eft one deofol anrdlice forlǽt, onne gemt h eft s halgan Gastes gife, e his heortan onliht, and to Criste gelt.

  • Go on my ways with master mein, with my havresac on mein horse—poor teufel was I—but there was gelt in it.

British Dictionary definitions for gelt


  1. archaic, or dialect a past tense and past participle of geld 1


  1. slang, mainly US cash or funds; money

Word Origin

C19: from Yiddish, from Old High German gelt reward


verb gelds, gelding, gelded or gelt (tr)
  1. to castrate (a horse or other animal)
  2. to deprive of virility or vitality; emasculate; weaken
Derived Formsgelder, noun

Word Origin

C13: from Old Norse gelda, from geldr barren


  1. a tax on land levied in late Anglo-Saxon and Norman England

Word Origin

Old English gield service, tax; related to Old Norse gjald tribute, Old Frisian jeld, Old High German gelt retribution, income
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for gelt


"money," 1520s, from German, Dutch gelt "gold, money" (see geld (n.)). In some later uses, from Yiddish.


past participle of geld (v.); hence, as an adjective, "castrated" (mid-15c.).



"royal tax in medieval England," Old English gield "payment, tribute," from Proto-Germanic *geldam "payment" (cf. Middle High German gelt "payment, contribution," German geld "money," Old Norse gjald "payment," Gothic gild "tribute, tax"), from PIE root of yield (v.).



"to castrate," c.1300, from Old Norse gelda "castrate" from geldr "barren," from Proto-Germanic *galdu-, from PIE *ghel- "to cut." Related: Gelded. Cf. Old Norse geldr "yielding no milk, dry," Old High German galt "barren," said of a cow.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper