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vir·gate 1

Shaped like a wand or rod; straight, long, and slender.

[Latin virgātus, made of twigs, from virga, twig.]

vir·gate 2

An early English measure of land area of varying value, often equal to about 30 acres (12 hectares).

[Medieval Latin virgāta, from feminine of Latin virgātus, relating to a rod; see virgate1.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈvɜːɡɪt; -ɡeɪt)
long, straight, and thin; rod-shaped: virgate stems.
[C19: from Latin virgātus made of twigs, from virga a rod]


(ˈvɜːɡɪt; -ɡeɪt)
(Units) Brit an obsolete measure of land area, usually taken as equivalent to 30 acres
[C17: from Medieval Latin virgāta (terrae) a rod's measurement (of land), from Latin virga rod; the phrase is a translation of Old English gierd landes a yard of land]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈvɜr gɪt, -geɪt)

shaped like a rod or wand; long, slender, and straight.
[1815–25; < Latin virgātus; see virga, -ate1]


(ˈvɜr gɪt, -geɪt)

an early English measure of land, equal to about 30 acres (12 hectares).
[1645–55; < Medieval Latin virgāta (terrae) measure (of land), feminine of Latin virgātus pertaining to a rod; see virgate1]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Latin entry into the survey of the Abergavenny family's estates in 1587 reads: 'John Fullwood, gentleman, holding by copy dated 9th October 1567, 1 messuage , 4 virgates and 4 acres, late in the tenure of Agnes Arden.'
This is demonstrated by the fact that standard-sized holdings -- virgates or yardlands -- are ubiquitous in `Midland' manors, but virtually non-existent in `East Anglian' manors, where holdings are simply measured in acres and rods, and no particular holding size dominates.(60) The presence of manorial policy hostile to the splitting of holdings is explicitly stated in some studies, for instance, those by Barbara Harvey, Christopher Dyer and Phillipp Schofield, and implicit in others, such as Howell's study of Kibworth Harcourt.(61) The presence of half- and quarter-virgates indicates that some splitting was allowed, perhaps with the manorial lord's permission.
Dyer records entry fines per yardland of 3 [pounds sterling]-8 [pounds sterling] in the 1530s, while Howell notes entry fines of 14 [pounds sterling]-15 [pounds sterling] per virgate in Kibworth Harcourt by the end of the sixteenth century.(77) So it is possible to imagine why, even in the sixteenth century, after servile restrictions had ended, East Anglian tenants were keener to participate in the land market than their Midland equivalents: their land was more valuable because its tenure was more secure and the entry fines payable to the manor were generally lower.