Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A tax levied in England from the 10th to the 12th century to finance protection against Danish invasion.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In English history, an annual tax first imposed in 991 on the decree of the witan in order to obtain funds for the maintenance of forces to oppose the Danes, or for furnishing tribute to procure peace.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Eng. Hist.) An annual tax formerly laid on the English nation to buy off the ravages of Danish invaders, or to maintain forces to oppose them. It afterward became a permanent tax, raised by an assessment, at first of one shilling, afterward of two shillings, upon every hide of land throughout the realm.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun history A tax raised originally to protect against Viking raiders in the 10th and 11th centuries, and later continued as a land tax.

Etymologies

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

[Middle English : Dane, genitive pl. of Dan, Dane; see Dane + geld, tribute (from Old English geld, gield, payment).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Apparently from Old Norse *Danagjald (Old Danish Danegjeld), from the genitive plural Danir ("Danes") + gjald ("payment, tribute").

Examples

  • At the Christmas meeting of the court, in 1085, it was decided, apparently after much debate and probably with special reference to the general land-tax, called the Danegeld, to form by means of inquiries, officially made in each locality, a complete register of the occupied lands of the kingdom, of their holders, and of their values.

    The History of England from the Norman Conquest to the Death of John (1066-1216)

  • Æthelred had in an earlier part of his reign levied a land-tax known as the Danegeld to pay off the Danes -- the first instance of a general tax in England.

    A Student's History of England, v. 1 (of 3) From the earliest times to the Death of King Edward VII

  • King Ethelred and his cowardly, selfish Court were well satisfied with this expedient, and the tax called Danegeld was laid upon the people, in order to raise a fund for buying off the enemy.

    A Book of Golden Deeds

  • They only operate on the idea of Danegeld, and will do so until military action removes them from power and / or existence.

    Cafe Hayek

  • This entirely predictable denouement arrives when, as a result of Tony Blair carefully burnishing his credentials for the job of President of the EU, the Danegeld we pay to the EU for the non-existent benefit of being a member is eye-wateringly ratcheted upwards by 68% in two years.

    To Nobody's Surprise

  • This entirely predictable denouement arrives when, as a result of Tony Blair carefully burnishing his credentials for the job of President of the EU, the Danegeld we pay to the EU for the non-existent benefit of being a member is eye-wateringly ratcheted upwards by 68% in two years.

    Archive 2009-08-30

  • Danegeld or not, money served the Britsih Empire well.

    Tony Blair: The Next Labour Prime Minister?

  • Danegeld didn't work with the danes and it won't work now.

    Tony Blair: The Next Labour Prime Minister?

  • Didn't Kipling make the point that if you keep paying the Danegeld you won't get rid of the Dane?

    Tony Blair: The Next Labour Prime Minister?

  • John Richardson, but whether you 'cold turkey' it or not, as long as you have a TV in the house, you have to pay the Danegeld.

    Tony Blair: The Next Labour Prime Minister?

Comments

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  • I see that the purveyor of the WotD is honoring tax day in the US. I am moved to tears.

    When agony's over and the tribute paid

    At Norsemen’s feet the blame is laid.

    The Danegeld, the fact is,

    Began all our taxes

    Which feel to this day like a Viking raid.

    April 15, 2014