wergild


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Related to wergild: compurgation

wer·geld

 (wûr′gĕld′) also wer·gild or were·gild (-gĭld′)
n.
In Anglo-Saxon and Germanic law, a price set upon a person's life on the basis of rank and paid as compensation by the family of a slayer to the kindred or lord of a slain person to free the culprit of further punishment or obligation and to prevent a blood feud.

[Middle English wargeld, from Old English wergeld : wer, man; see wī-ro- in Indo-European roots + geld, payment.]

wergild

(ˈwɜːˌɡɪld; ˈwɛə-) or

weregild

;

wergeld

(ˈwɜːˌɡɛld; ˈwɛə-)
n
1. (Law) the price set on a man's life in successive Anglo-Saxon and Germanic law codes, to be paid as compensation by his slayer
2. (Historical Terms) the price set on a man's life in successive Anglo-Saxon and Germanic law codes, to be paid as compensation by his slayer
[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]

wer•gild

or were•gild

(ˈwɜr gɪld, ˈwɛr-)

also wer•geld

(-gɛld)

n.
(in Anglo-Saxon England and medieval Germanic countries) a compensatory fine paid to the relatives of a murdered person to free the offender from further obligations or punishment.
[1175–1225; Middle English (Scots) weregylt, Old English wer(e)gild=wer man (c. Gothic wair, Latin vir) + gild geld2; see yield]

weregild, wergild

(in Anglo-Saxon society) a payment made to the family of a slain man by his killer or the killer’s family as compensation, atonement, and to avoid reprisals.
See also: Dues and Payment
References in periodicals archive ?
And so, Ethelbert, King of Kent, in the 6th century, specified, in his laws, the customary wergild, and the nature of the wrong for which its payment was to be made.
aeblaece 'lustreless', aegilde 'receiving no wergild as compensation', aelaete 2 'desert'
A ceorl, who was the lowest ranking freeman in early Anglo-Saxon society, was not a peasant but an arms-owning male with access to law, support of a kindred and the wergild, situated at the apex of an extended household working at least one hide of land.