Origin of thegn
Origin of thane
Examples from the Web for thegn
Every merchant who had made three long voyages on his own behalf and at his own cost ranked as a thegn.Our Legal Heritage, 5th Ed.|S. A. Reilly
Dark was the scowl on the brow of every thegn, and a muttered "No, no: never the Norman!"Harold, Complete|Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Preserved by the devotion of his thegn Lilla, Edwin vowed to become a Christian if victorious over his treacherous enemy.
The thegn no longer lives in his lords court; he is a warrior endowed with land.
But from our present point of view by far the most interesting form that the loan takes is the loan to the thegn or the cniht.
- a person of rank, often the chief of a clan, holding land from the king
- a lesser noble who was a Crown official holding authority over an area of land
Word Origin for thane
"military tenant of an Anglo-Saxon king," a modern revival first attested 1848; see thane.
Old English þegn "military follower," also "servant, attendant," from Proto-Germanic *thegnas (cf. Old Saxon thegan "follower, warrior, boy," Old Norse þegn "thane, freeman," Old High German thegan, German Degen "thane, warrior, hero"), from PIE *tek-no- (cf. Sanskrit takman "descendant, child," Greek teknon "child"), from root *tek- "to beget, give birth to" (cf. Greek tekos "child, the young of animals," tokos "childbirth, offspring, produce of money, interest"). Also used in Old English for "disciple of Christ." Specific sense of "man who ranks between an earl and a freeman" is late 15c.
The modern spelling is from Scottish, where early 13c. it came to mean "chief of a clan, king's baron," and it has predominated in English probably due to the influence of "Macbeth;" normal orthographic changes from Old English ðegn would have produced Modern English *thain. Some historians now use thegn to distinguish Anglo-Saxon thanes from Scottish thanes.