in early Germanic and Anglo-Saxon law, a price paid by a person who has killed another to the family of the person killed, to atone for the killing and avoid reprisals
also were′gild· or wer′gild·
Origin of wergeldMiddle English weregylt from Old English wergild from wer, man (see werewolf) + geld, payment: see geld
also wer·gild or were·gild
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.
Origin of wergeldMiddle English wargeld from Old English wergeld wer man ; see wī-ro- in Indo-European roots. geld payment
- (historical, in Germanic law) blood money, the monetary value assigned to a person, set according to their rank, used to determine the compensation paid by the perpetrator of a crime to the victim in the case of injury or to the victim's kindred in the case of homicide.
- (historical, in Germanic law) Compensation thusly determined and paid; a reparative payment.