Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A reward; recompense.
  • transitive v. To reward.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A reward, prize or recompense for a service; an accolade.
  • v. To give such a reward to.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A reward; requital; recompense; -- used in both a good and a bad sense.
  • transitive v. To give guerdon to; to reward; to be a recompense for.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To give a guerdon to; reward.
  • n. A reward; requital; recompense.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a reward or payment

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin widerdōnum, alteration (influenced by Latin dōnum, gift) of Old High German widarlōn : widar, back, against; see wi- in Indo-European roots + lōn, reward.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French guerdon, from Medieval Latin widerdonum, from West Germanic (whence Old English wiþerlēan), literally ‘again-payment’, with the second element assimilated to Latin donum ("gift"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The gods were wroth at so presumptuous an offer, but when they would have indignantly driven the stranger from their presence, Loki urged them to make a bargain which it would be impossible for the stranger to keep, and so they finally told the architect that the guerdon should be his, provided the fortress were finished in the course of a single winter, and that he accomplished the work with no other assistance than that of his horse Svadilfare.

    Myths of the Norsemen From the Eddas and Sagas

  • The 13-year-old boy aced "guerdon" to win the 81st edition of the bee, held in the nation's capital.

    Meet the Bees

  • “Then dirt and weather-beat shall be your guerdon of honour,”

    Chapter 39

  • Thanks to the school of scientific philosophers he favored, he knew the biological significance of love; but by a refined process of the same scientific reasoning he reached the conclusion that the human organism achieved its highest purpose in love, that love must not be questioned, but must be accepted as the highest guerdon of life.

    Chapter 23

  • The winning words in recent competitions have included: pococurante; autochthonous; appoggiatura; ursprache; serrefine; guerdon; Laodicean.

    Archive 2010-06-01

  • Lors des championnats les plus récents, les mots qui ont permis aux gagnants de remporter la victoire ont été pococurante, autochthonous, appoggiatura, ursprache, serrefine, guerdon et Laodicean.

    Archive 2010-07-01

  • Constructing new legislation is always difficult, but I propose a simple starting point for immigration selection: Anyone who can spell guerdon is in!

    Indian Americans: The New Model Minority

  • When Sameer Mishra correctly spelled guerdon last May to win the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee, he became the sixth Indian-American winner in the past 10 years.

    Indian Americans: The New Model Minority

  • People also gathered round this silver-and-nickel-alloy guerdon to meet its guardian: Mike Bolt.

    The Magazine: Culture and Celebrity

  • Thus the Count and Countess had an opportunity to estimate the happiness and the felicity reserved for those slaves, whom the Omnipotent Jupiter, in the plenitude of compassion for their state, and in guerdon of their good morals, had dedicated to the service of a philosopher.

    Count Robert of Paris

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Of all tales 't is the saddest – and more sad,
    Because it makes us smile: his hero 's right,
    And stil pursues the right; – to curb the bad
    His only object, and 'gainst odds to fight
    His guerdon: 't is his virtue makes him mad!
    But his adventures form a sorry sight;
    A sorrier still is the great moral taught
    By that real epic unto all who have thought.
    – Byron, Don Juan, Canto 13 (about Don Quixote, aka Don Kwix-oat)

    April 21, 2013

  • "How could anyone look at the happiness of the Beverley sisters, dolled up for the palace, and propose to snatch their prize away? Why be so cruel, when they have sung so lustily and for so long, and so well deserved their tinny guerdon?"
    - Boris Johnson, 'Elect the Lords -- and stop our gongs going for a song', Daily Telegraph, 29 March 2002.

    November 24, 2008

  • Origin:

    "reward, recompense" (now only poetic), 1366, from Old French. guerdon, from Medieval Latin. widerdonum, from Old High German widarlon (reward);

    From: http://www.etymonline.com/abbr.php

    June 13, 2008

  • "Something one has earned or gained." The winning word for the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee competition.

    June 1, 2008

  • November 2, 2007