Wergeld meaning

-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.
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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.
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(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.
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(historical, in Germanic law) Compensation thusly determined and paid; a reparative payment.
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Origin of wergeld

  • Middle English wargeld from Old English wergeld wer man wī-ro- in Indo-European roots geld payment

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English wergeld, from Old English wergeld (“compensation for a man killed"), from Proto-Germanic *werageldaz (“weregild"), equivalent to wer (“man") +"Ž geld (“payment"). Cognate with German Wergeld. More at wer, geld.

    From Wiktionary