(in Anglo-Saxon England and other Germanic countries)
money paid to the relatives of a murder victim in compensation for loss and to prevent a blood feud.
the amount of money fixed as compensation for the murder or disablement of a person, computed on the basis of rank.
Also wer·geld[wur-geld, wer-]/ˈwɜr gɛld, ˈwɛr-/, were·gild.
Origin of wergild
1175–1225;Middle English (Scots) weregylt,Old Englishwer(e)gild, equivalent to wer man (cognate with Gothicwair,Latinvir) + gildgeld2; cognate with Middle Dutchweergelt,Old High Germanwergelt; see yield