From Middle English, from Dane, genitive plural of Dan (“Dane”), plus geld (“geld, tribute, payment”). Apparently modeled on a Scandinavian word such as Old Danish Danegjeld), from Old Norse *Danagjald, from the genitive plural of Danir (“Danes”) + gjald (“payment, tribute”).
- (historical) A tax raised originally to protect against Viking raiders in the 10th and 11th centuries, and later continued as a land tax.
- 1644, John Milton, Aeropagitica:
- And who shall then stick closest to ye, and excite others? not he who takes up armes for cote and conduct, and his four nobles of Danegelt.