danegeld

noun, often capitalized
dane·geld | \ ˈdān-ˌgeld \

Definition of danegeld 

: an annual tax believed to have been imposed originally to buy off Danish invaders in England or to maintain forces to oppose them but continued as a land tax

Did You Know?

The subjects of King Ethelred II, who ruled England from 978-1016, didn't think much of the ruler the dubbed "the Unready." They suspected him of murdering his brother to gain the throne, so it isn't surprising that they didn't rally around him to defend the country against the Danish invaders who attempted to unseat him. Ethelred tried a payoff tax called the Danegeld as a last ditch effort to keep his kingdom intact. The Dane part of the name refers to the Danish invaders who received the money. The geld part comes from an Old English word meaning "payment" or "tribute."

First Known Use of danegeld

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about danegeld

Listen to Our Podcast about danegeld

Dictionary Entries near danegeld

Dane

Dane's-blood

Danebrog

danegeld

dane gun

Danelaw

daneweed

Statistics for danegeld

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for danegeld

The first known use of danegeld was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

More from Merriam-Webster on danegeld

See words that rhyme with danegeld

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about danegeld

Comments on danegeld

What made you want to look up danegeld? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the setting in which something occurs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!