• synonyms


[wur-gild, wer-]
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  1. (in Anglo-Saxon England and other Germanic countries)
  2. money paid to the relatives of a murder victim in compensation for loss and to prevent a blood feud.
  3. the amount of money fixed as compensation for the murder or disablement of a person, computed on the basis of rank.
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Also wer·geld [wur-geld, wer-] /ˈwɜr gɛld, ˈwɛr-/, were·gild.

Origin of wergild

1175–1225; Middle English (Scots) weregylt, Old English wer(e)gild, equivalent to wer man (cognate with Gothic wair, Latin vir) + gild geld2; cognate with Middle Dutch weergelt, Old High German wergelt; see yield
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wergild

Historical Examples

  • All of them seem to have the wergild of twelve hundred shillings.

    Domesday Book and Beyond

    Frederic William Maitland

  • In the charter of Hinestrosa the wergild for homicide is 500 sueldos.

  • My grief for Olaf is yet deep in my heart; still I remember his death; and now again I come to claim a wergild for him.

  • Blood money, or wergild, was exacted from wrong-doers as in Saxon times in England.

  • This step is taken when the State compels the parties to enter into an agreement on the basis of the wergild.

British Dictionary definitions for wergild


weregild wergeld (ˈwɜːˌɡɛld, ˈwɛə-)

  1. the price set on a man's life in successive Anglo-Saxon and Germanic law codes, to be paid as compensation by his slayer
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Word Origin

Old English wergeld, from wer man (related to Old Norse ver, Latin vir) + gield tribute (related to Gothic gild, Old High German gelt payment); see yield
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