Definition of guild in US English:


(also gild)


  • 1A medieval association of craftsmen or merchants, often having considerable power.

    • ‘The merchant guilds they formed controlled markets, weights and measures, and tolls, and negotiated charters granting their towns borough status.’
    • ‘The Spanish eventually organized the local craftsmen into guilds and taught them new techniques of making silver.’
    • ‘Not that we should assume that the three classes, as separately listed in 1411, necessarily represent the lines of division of opinion, and that this was a demarcation between between Merchant Gild and craft gilds.’
    • ‘The first professional societies were the medieval guilds.’
    • ‘When dissection was introduced into universities and surgical guilds throughout the late medieval and early modern periods, secular rulers only permitted dissections of executed criminals.’
    • ‘A group of skilled craftsmen in the same trade might form themselves into a guild.’
    • ‘Theirs is a view akin to those of the medieval guilds that protected their knowledge by allowing only initiates into full understanding of the one truth.’
    • ‘In the Middle Ages, merchant and trade guilds determined who could practice a particular profession.’
    • ‘The merchant guilds of Canton controlled all trade with the European merchants, and the movement of Europeans was severely restricted.’
    • ‘The townsmen invested in communal halls, one for each of the four guilds, which served social, charitable, and religious purposes.’
    • ‘Four decades after Rerum Novarum, the Vicar of Christ on earth preached as his only response to the Depression cooperation between management and labour through the resurrection of medieval guilds.’
    • ‘Local homeowners organized Arts and Crafts guilds for the production of furniture, pottery, metal, and leatherwork for their own homes.’
    • ‘Given the breakdown of corporations and guilds, and the divisiveness of politics and religion, the vehicle of this integration was the voluntary association in which talk of politics and religion was banned.’
    • ‘These range from merchant guilds and systems of agricultural organization to regional and international trade networks.’
    • ‘The medieval guilds of Europe were essentially cooperative organizations of equals, i.e., anarchist.’
    • ‘The right model for the teacher unions is the medieval craftsman guilds, the hallmarks of which were professional ability and demonstrated accomplishment.’
    • ‘Since medieval times, the merchants in most towns in Europe had organized themselves into guilds, just like craftsmen.’
    • ‘Masons were highly skilled craftsmen and they belonged to a guild.’
    • ‘There is evidence of a major Roman road and cemetery, including the urns of two people from the second or third century, a Roman dock, a medieval church, and the hall of the medieval guild of the Cordwainers.’
    • ‘When the power of the guilds to control the quantities of goods brought to market was wrested from them, their regulations could no longer be enforced.’
    1. 1.1 An association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal.
      • ‘Emo ICA guild held their September meeting in the Gate Lodge.’
      • ‘The November meeting of Emo ICA guild was held in the Gate Lodge on Wednesday, November 5.’
      • ‘If teachers were represented by some kind of professional association, like a guild or trade union, we could avoid all the misery this government is bringing into our schools.’
      • ‘Our editors guilds and unions of journalists have nothing to show by way of information and legal resources that can respond quickly to attacks on journalists.’
      • ‘When the guild took on the project the lodge was in a terrible state of disrepair and was almost derelict.’
      • ‘This was typical modesty of a sort not that common in our guild.’
      • ‘The January meeting of the Emo ICA guild was held in the Gate Lodge.’
      • ‘Leaders of the striking guilds praise the assistance they've received from other union leaders.’
      • ‘Four members of the guild will attend the council meeting in the Amburn Lodge Hotel in Ennis.’
      • ‘She was a member of the local dramatic society, a founder member of Bagenalstown ICA guild and was also a keen bridge player with the local club.’
      • ‘Our law acknowledges the right of members of a particular trade to organize together into a guild or union.’
      • ‘If I were to be represented within a labor organization, I would need to be in a tech guild, not a tech union.’
      • ‘Only barristers-in-training study in one of the four Inns of Court in London, which are crosses between learned societies and choosy guilds.’
      • ‘Soon enough, word of a possible co-operative artist guild began to spread, leading to a surprisingly successful organizational meeting.’
      • ‘The guilds and unions in the American film industry are still strong, and have the clout (in theory) to protect their workers against the depredations of management, and against their own love of the Job.’
      • ‘The guild has decades of catching up to do in order to reduce the animosity and alienation the arguable majority of local musicians feel towards them.’
      • ‘It needs serious argumentation before the journalistic guild and society.’
      • ‘Filmmakers in the Directors Guild of Canada, for example, have never been able to decide in the 30 years of its existence whether they are in a guild or a union.’
      • ‘What is the difference between a guild and a union, and is one better than the other for programmers in particular?’
      • ‘Hollywood's writer's guilds and unions were disbanded and state approved writers took the reigns of everyday programming.’
      association, society, union, league, alliance, coalition, federation, consortium, syndicate, combine, trust, organization, company, cooperative, partnership, fellowship, club, order, lodge, sisterhood, sorority, brotherhood, fraternity
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Ecology A group of species that have similar requirements and play a similar role within a community.
      • ‘Furthermore, different guilds within the herbivore trophic level may be influenced differently by N addition, predators, and abiotic conditions.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, size ratio analyses are not useful when the same measurement is not available for all species within the guild.’
      • ‘And, to avoid competition, natural selection has made sure that, even within a guild there are tiny differences in the diets, habitats or behaviours of each member.’
      • ‘Those figures show that, within guilds, species richness and individual abundance are not necessarily correlated.’
      • ‘The differences in logo transformed mass values between successively sized species within a guild are the size ratio data.’


Late Old English: probably from Middle Low German and Middle Dutch gilde, of Germanic origin; related to yield.