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See also: hanse and Hanses


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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English hanse, from Old French hanse (guild; guild fee), from Medieval Latin hansa, from Old High German hansa and Gothic 𐌷𐌰𐌽𐍃𐌰 (hansa, company or band of soldiers; a gang of men), both cognate with Old English hōs (company, retinue, escorts),[1] all believed to derive from Proto-Germanic *hansō (gathering; coalition; gang of men), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱómsōd (union; gathering), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱóm (beside, by, with, along) + *sed- (to sit). In reference to the Hanseatic League, via German Hanse.

Cognate with Latin consilium (council) and Russian сосе́д (soséd, neighbor).



Hanse (plural Hanses)

  1. (historical) A merchant guild, particularly the Fellowship of London Merchants (the "Old Hanse") given a monopoly on London's foreign trade by the Normans or its successor, the Company of Merchant Adventurers (the "New Hanse"), incorporated in 1497 and chartered under Henry VII and Elizabeth I.
  2. (historical) The rights and privileges of such guilds, particularly their trade monopolies.
  3. (historical) A commercial association of Scottish free burghs in the Middle Ages.[2]
  4. (historical) The Hanseatic League: a commercial association of German towns in the Middle Ages.
  5. (historical) Alternative form of hanse, the fees payable to a Hanse or its guildhall.

Usage notes[edit]

In reference to the cities of the Hanseatic League taken collectively, used as "the Hanses".


Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 1st ed. "Hanse, n." Oxford University Press (Oxford), 1898.
  2. ^ Smith, William Charles. "Borough" in the Encyclopædia Britannica, 9th ed., Vol. IV. Charles Scribner's Sons (New York), 1878, p. 64.




From Middle High German hanse (guild), from Old High German hansa (group; community; guild), from Proto-Germanic *hansō. The modern specification of these sense follows Middle Low German hanse (guild; Hanseatic League), which is itself an early borrowing from Middle High German.


  • IPA(key): /ˈhanzə/
  • (file)


Hanse f (genitive Hanse, plural Hansen)

  1. (historical) a kind of commercial, and sometimes military, confederation of cities in the later Middle Ages; in particular the Hanseatic League of northern Germany
    die Deutsche Hanse — the Hanseatic League
    die Hanse der 17 Städte — the Hanse of the 17 cities (a similar confederation in Flanders and northern France)
  2. (by analogy) any similar confederation based first and foremost on commercial interests


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