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Related to wergild: compurgation


 (wûr′gĕld′) also wer·gild or were·gild (-gĭld′)
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.]
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.


(ˈwɜːˌɡɪld; ˈwɛə-) or




(ˈwɜːˌɡɛld; ˈwɛə-)
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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


or were•gild

(ˈwɜr gɪld, ˈwɛr-)

also wer•geld


(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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

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
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Legal penalties were prescribed for causing harm, not for violating rules, and the legal sanction was compensation for the harm by means of wergild. Factual disputes about whether a particular person was responsible for the harm were determined by ordeal or combat.
For example, the practice of wergild, first codified by King AEthelbert (560-1), specified the amount of money paid in compensation for raped widows.
The first Constitution in Medina (622 CE) arranged by Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) contained three aspects directly related to risk protection: social insurance for the Jews, Ansar and Christians; Article 3 concerning 'wergild or 'blood money'; and provision for Fidyah (ransom) and 'aaqila.
There is evidence that money also originated in ancient penal systems that instituted compensation schedules of fines, similar to wergild, as a means of settling one's debt for inflicted wrongdoing to an injured party (Grierson, 1997; Goodhart, 1998; Wray, 1998).
(5) The Anglo-Saxon wergild was an early English attempt to break the cyclical pattern of blood-vengeance.
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.
reflected a mixture of biblical ideas and Anglo-Saxon wergild