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[wop-uh n-teyk, wap-]
  1. (formerly in N England and the Midlands) a subdivision of a shire or county corresponding to a hundred.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wapentake

Historical Examples of wapentake

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

    The Danes in Lancashire and Yorkshire

    S. W. Partington

  • Beside one smaller estate there are in this wapentake three manors.

    Domesday Book and Beyond

    Frederic William Maitland

  • The origin of the wapentake is woepenge-toc, woepentac, from the Icelandic vapnatak.

  • We believe that even the word "wapentake" has changed its meaning.

  • It was the wapentake striking his wand against a sheet of iron.

British Dictionary definitions for wapentake


  1. 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
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Word Origin for wapentake

Old English wǣpen (ge) tæc, from Old Norse vāpnatak, from vápn weapon + tak take
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 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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper