- 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
Related Words for guildsfederation, league, group, club, corporation, company, profession, trade, society, sodality, lodge, organization, order, union
Examples from the Web for guilds
Contemporary Examples of guilds
They operate in a realm largely untouched by legislation, unions, and guilds.Amazon’s Turkers Kick Off the First Crowdsourced Labor Guild
December 3, 2014
Historical Examples of guilds
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
Then there is no caste; there are no guilds of trade, or art, or science.The Soul of a People
Even what is good about them is not what was good about the Guilds.A Short History of England
G. K. Chesterton
Architects, engineers, and missionaries likewise have their guilds.Travels in the Far East
Ellen Mary Hayes Peck
- 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 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.
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.