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or gild

[gild] /gɪld/
an organization of persons with related interests, goals, etc., especially one formed for mutual aid or protection.
any of various medieval associations, as of merchants or artisans, organized to maintain standards and to protect the interests of its members, and that sometimes constituted a local governing body.
Botany. a group of plants, as parasites, having a similar habit of growth and nutrition.
Origin of guild
before 1000; Middle English gild(e) < Old Norse gildi guild, payment; replacing Old English gegyld guild; akin to German Geld money, Gothic -gild tax
Can be confused
gild, gilt, guild, guilt. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for guild
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To what guild or brotherhood of impetuous travellers had he ascribed me?

    A Day's Ride Charles James Lever
  • Then it is, in a measure, fair that we judge this creature's guild through him.

  • Tem Rend's application had finally been accepted by the Assassin's guild.

    The Status Civilization Robert Sheckley
  • It's a guild as old, and a deal more honorable, than the beggar's.

    The Coast of Chance Esther Chamberlain
  • The aim of the guild charities was the same as the aim of the Common Land.

    A Short History of England

    G. K. Chesterton
  • The scenes were painted expressly in aid of the "guild," and admirably done.

    Glances at Europe Horace Greeley
  • The members have to contribute something yearly to the guild.

    New Italian sketches John Addington Symonds
British Dictionary definitions for guild


an organization, club, or fellowship
(esp in medieval Europe) an association of men sharing the same interests, such as merchants or artisans: formed for mutual aid and protection and to maintain craft standards or pursue some other purpose such as communal worship
(ecology) a group of plants, such as a group of epiphytes, that share certain habits or characteristics
Word Origin
C14: of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse gjald payment, gildi guild; related to Old English gield offering, Old High German gelt money
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
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Word Origin and History for guild

early 13c., yilde (spelling later influenced by Old Norse gildi "guild, brotherhood"), a semantic fusion of Old English gegyld "guild" and gild, gyld "payment, tribute, compensation," from Proto-Germanic *gelth- "pay" (cf. Old Frisian geld "money," Old Saxon geld "payment, sacrifice, reward," Old High German gelt "payment, tribute;" see yield (v.)).

The connecting sense is of a tribute or payment to join a protective or trade society. But some see the root in its alternative sense of "sacrifice," as if in worship, and see the word as meaning a combination for religious purposes, either Christian or pagan. The Anglo-Saxon guilds had a strong religious component; they were burial societies that paid for masses for the souls of deceased members as well as paying fines in cases of justified crime. The continental custom of guilds of merchants arrived after the Conquest, with incorporated societies of merchants in each town or city holding exclusive rights of doing business there. In many cases they became the governing body of a town (cf. Guildhall, which came to be the London city hall). Trade guilds arose 14c., as craftsmen united to protect their common interest.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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