Definition of guild in English:


(also gild)


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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The right model for the teacher unions is the medieval craftsman guilds, the hallmarks of which were professional ability and demonstrated accomplishment.’
    • ‘These range from merchant guilds and systems of agricultural organization to regional and international trade networks.’
    • ‘The merchant guilds they formed controlled markets, weights and measures, and tolls, and negotiated charters granting their towns borough status.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 townsmen invested in communal halls, one for each of the four guilds, which served social, charitable, and religious purposes.’
    • ‘The first professional societies were the medieval guilds.’
    • ‘Since medieval times, the merchants in most towns in Europe had organized themselves into guilds, just like craftsmen.’
    • ‘In the Middle Ages, merchant and trade guilds determined who could practice a particular profession.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Local homeowners organized Arts and Crafts guilds for the production of furniture, pottery, metal, and leatherwork for their own homes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The merchant guilds of Canton controlled all trade with the European merchants, and the movement of Europeans was severely restricted.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Spanish eventually organized the local craftsmen into guilds and taught them new techniques of making silver.’
    • ‘The medieval guilds of Europe were essentially cooperative organizations of equals, i.e., anarchist.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Masons were highly skilled craftsmen and they belonged to a guild.’
    1. 1.1An association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Hollywood's writer's guilds and unions were disbanded and state approved writers took the reigns of everyday programming.’
      • ‘This was typical modesty of a sort not that common in our guild.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Our law acknowledges the right of members of a particular trade to organize together into a guild or union.’
      • ‘It needs serious argumentation before the journalistic guild and society.’
      • ‘When the guild took on the project the lodge was in a terrible state of disrepair and was almost derelict.’
      • ‘Only barristers-in-training study in one of the four Inns of Court in London, which are crosses between learned societies and choosy guilds.’
      • ‘Leaders of the striking guilds praise the assistance they've received from other union leaders.’
      • ‘What is the difference between a guild and a union, and is one better than the other for programmers in particular?’
      • ‘The November meeting of Emo ICA guild was held in the Gate Lodge on Wednesday, November 5.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The January meeting of the Emo ICA guild was held in the Gate Lodge.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If I were to be represented within a labor organization, I would need to be in a tech guild, not a tech union.’
      • ‘Four members of the guild will attend the council meeting in the Amburn Lodge Hotel in Ennis.’
      • ‘Soon enough, word of a possible co-operative artist guild began to spread, leading to a surprisingly successful organizational meeting.’
      • ‘Emo ICA guild held their September meeting in the Gate Lodge.’
      association, society, union, league, alliance, coalition, federation, consortium, syndicate, combine, trust, organization, company, cooperative, partnership, fellowship, club, order, lodge, sisterhood, sorority, brotherhood, fraternity
      consociation, sodality
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Ecology A group of species that have similar requirements and play a similar role within a community.
      • ‘Those figures show that, within guilds, species richness and individual abundance are not necessarily correlated.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, size ratio analyses are not useful when the same measurement is not available for all species within the guild.’
      • ‘Furthermore, different guilds within the herbivore trophic level may be influenced differently by N addition, predators, and abiotic conditions.’
      • ‘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.