\ ˈmēd How to pronounce meed (audio) \

Definition of meed

1 archaic : an earned reward or wage
2 : a fitting return or recompense

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The word meed is one of the oldest terms in our language, having been part of English for about 1,000 years. An early form of the word appeared in the Old English classic Beowulf, and it can be found in works by literary luminaries including Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, John Milton, Alexander Pope, and Ben Jonson. Its Old English form, mēd, is akin to terms found in the ancestral versions of many European languages, including Old High German, Old Swedish, and ancient Greek. In Modern English, the venerable meed is most likely to be found in poetic contexts.

First Known Use of meed

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for meed

Middle English, from Old English mēd; akin to Old High German miata reward, Greek misthos

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

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Cite this Entry

“Meed.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jul. 2022.

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