or thegn

[ theyn ]
/ θeɪn /
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Early English History. a member of any of several aristocratic classes of men ranking between earls and ordinary freemen, and granted lands by the king or by lords for military service.
Scottish History. a person, ranking with an earl's son, holding lands of the king; the chief of a clan, who became one of the king's barons.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of thane

before 900; late Middle English, spelling variant (Scots ) of Middle English thain, thein,Old English thegn; cognate with Old Norse thegn subject, German Degen warrior, hero, Greek téknon child


un·der·thane, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for thane

British Dictionary definitions for thane


commonly thegn

/ (θeɪn) /


(in Anglo-Saxon England) a member of an aristocratic class, ranking below an ealdorman, whose status was hereditary and who held land from the king or from another nobleman in return for certain services
(in medieval Scotland)
  1. a person of rank, often the chief of a clan, holding land from the king
  2. a lesser noble who was a Crown official holding authority over an area of land

Derived forms of thane

thanage (ˈθeɪnɪdʒ), noun

Word Origin for thane

Old English thegn; related to Old Saxon, Old High German thegan thane
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