Definition of scutage in US English:



  • (in a feudal society) money paid by a vassal to his lord in lieu of military service.

    • ‘It was normally possible to make a payment, known as scutage or shield money, in place of performing feudal military service.’
    • ‘By the 13th cent. the arrangements were unravelling as lords increasingly paid scutage rather than perform knight service and vassals tried to commute their own obligations.’
    • ‘By that time too, inflation of around 50 percent had made scutage valueless, and it was no longer collected, although it was not abolished until 1660.’
    • ‘Most of the head tenants and some of the under tenants held on condition of knight service, later commuted into a money payment in lieu of service called scutage.’


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin scutagium, from Latin scutum ‘shield’.