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See also: danegeld


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From Middle English danegeld, 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).



Danegeld (uncountable)

  1. (history) 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, Areopagitica:
      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.
  2. (by extension) any kind of tribute
    • 1989, Irwin M. Ryan, The Last Congress, Remco (→ISBN)
      The best now pay danegeld to the sloths, the greedy, the manipulators. And congress has legitimized the channels of deceit through laws which pay danegeld to the most strident noise makers.
    • 1988, Ken Smith, Free is Cheaper
      But this part of the industry still had to pay Danegeld to the already over-endowed City.
    • 1980, Cylchgrawn Hanes Cymru
      This is not just a question of intelligent men selling out or having to pay Danegeld to the fundamentalists and the unions; ...
    • 1945, The Nineteenth Century and After
      He notes how 'the Conservatives confusedly thought that they had to pay danegeld to the Left and did so reluctantly and inappropriately, ...
    • 1963, Max Lerner, America as a Civilization: Culture and personality
      When the challenge of the barbarians finally came , Rome had to pay Danegeld to buy off the marauders.
    • 1998, Forbes
      What's unfair is that we make it tough for young people to get a job unless they pay danegeld to a four-year college to get a certificate that says it's okay to employ them.