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guild

or gild

[gild]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. an organization of persons with related interests, goals, etc., especially one formed for mutual aid or protection.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 confusedgild gilt guild guilt
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for guilds

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • And all ranks and guilds had their signs, by which they might be known.

    Albert Durer

    T. Sturge Moore

  • Previous to being Mayor he had been an eminent personage as master of the guilds.

    Holbein

    Beatrice Fortescue

  • Then there is no caste; there are no guilds of trade, or art, or science.

  • Even what is good about them is not what was good about the Guilds.

  • Architects, engineers, and missionaries likewise have their guilds.

    Travels in the Far East</p>

    Ellen Mary Hayes Peck


British Dictionary definitions for guilds

guild

gild

noun
  1. an organization, club, or fellowship
  2. (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
  3. 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

Word Origin and History for guilds

guild

n.

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

guilds in Culture

guilds

Organizations of artisans in the Middle Ages that sought to regulate the price and quality of products such as weaving and ironwork. Guilds survived into the eighteenth century.

Note

Guilds gave way to trade unions, a very different type of organization. The artisans in the guilds were self-employed, unlike most members of trade unions.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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