wergild

noun
wer·​gild | \ ˈwər-ˌgild How to pronounce wergild (audio) \
variants: or wergeld \ ˈwer-​ˌgeld How to pronounce wergeld (audio) \

Definition of wergild

: the value set in Anglo-Saxon and Germanic law upon human life in accordance with rank and paid as compensation to the kindred or lord of a slain person

First Known Use of wergild

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for wergild

Middle English wergeld, from Old English, from wer man + -geld, alteration of gield, geld payment, tribute — more at geld

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wergild

Time Traveler for wergild

Time Traveler

The first known use of wergild was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for wergild

Cite this Entry

“Wergild.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wergild. Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on wergild

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wergild

Comments on wergild

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
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!