Definition of Danegeld in English:



mass nounhistorical
  • 1A land tax levied in Anglo-Saxon England during the reign of King Ethelred to raise funds for protection against Danish invaders.

    • ‘The Danegeld was a tax created by English rulers to pay for the defense of their country from Viking raiders.’
    • ‘Just under £3,000 came from taxation, nearly all of this from the geld or Danegeld, as the old Anglo-Saxon land tax was now called.’
    • ‘The time honoured methods of ransom, Danegeld and baptism of Viking leaders continued to be more successful.’
    • ‘This was followed by attempts to buy off the Danes by the payment of immense sums as Danegeld, a course of action suggested by Archbishop Sigeric.’
    • ‘The Danegeld was an English tribute raised to pay off Viking raiders to save the land from being ravaged by the raiders.’
    1. 1.1 Taxes collected for national defence by the Norman kings until 1162.
      • ‘On this basis in the early eleventh century English kings faced with Viking attacks called for payments from all land to pay mercenaries - the so-called Danegeld.’


Late Old English, from Old Norse Danir ‘Danes’ + gjald ‘payment’.