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[wop-uh n-teyk, wap-] /ˈwɒp ənˌteɪk, ˈwæp-/
(formerly in N England and the Midlands) a subdivision of a shire or county corresponding to a hundred.
Origin of wapentake
before 1000; Middle English < Old Norse vāpnatak (compare Old English wǣpen-getæc) show of weapons at public voting, equivalent to vāpna (genitive plural of vāpn weapon) + tak taking; see take Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for wapentake
Historical Examples
  • The wapentake of Bulmer is, as respects minute and accurate information, part of the terra incognita of Yorkshire.

  • The "Trithing" was a Danish institution, so also was the wapentake.

  • This fourth was the wapentake, clearly visible in the light of the torch.

    The Man Who Laughs Victor Hugo
  • Beside one smaller estate there are in this wapentake three manors.

    Domesday Book and Beyond Frederic William Maitland
  • The union of marks formed a wapentake (Vopnatak), from the custom of touching the chief's spear in token of fealty.

    The Paladins of Edwin the Great Clements R. Markham
  • The origin of the wapentake is woepenge-toc, woepentac, from the Icelandic vapnatak.

  • "I am a man of the north country, from the town of Beverley and the wapentake of Holderness," he answered.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • We believe that even the word "wapentake" has changed its meaning.

    The Man Who Laughs Victor Hugo
  • The wapentake passed through it, then the men, then the second torch.

    The Man Who Laughs Victor Hugo
  • On a sign from the sheriff, the justice of the quorum and the wapentake advanced.

    The Man Who Laughs Victor Hugo
British Dictionary definitions for wapentake


/ˈwɒpənˌteɪk; ˈwæp-/
(English legal history) a subdivision of certain shires or counties, esp in the Midlands and North of England, corresponding to the hundred in other shires
Word Origin
Old English wǣpen(ge)tæc, from Old Norse vāpnatak, from vápnweapon + taktake
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 wapentake

division of certain English counties (equivalent to a hundred in other places), Old English wæpengetæc, from Old Norse vapnatak, from vapna, genitive plural of vapn "weapon" (see weapon) + tak "touching," from taka "to take, grasp." Perhaps it originally was an armed muster with inspection of weapons, or else an assembly where consent was expressed by brandishing swords and spears.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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