Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. In Anglo-Saxon law, a fine or mulct of uncertain character.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Anglo-Saxon law, a fine or mulct of uncertain character; “the sum every man sentenced to the pillory would have had to pay to save him from that punishment, had it been in use.”

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English healsfang ("fine prescribed in substitution for capital and other punishments", literally "neck-taking", or "taking by the neck"), equivalent to halse +‎ fang. Cognate with Icelandic hálsfang ("embracing").

Examples

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Comments

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  • (noun) - (1) A word used in Anglo-Saxon laws meaning originally some punishment and afterwards the fine in commutation thereof. The legal antiquaries since c.1600 have taken it to mean the pillory.

    --Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1909

    (2) Among the Saxons, healsfang - of heals, a necke, and fang, to take.

    --John Cowell's Interpreter . . . Containing the Signification of Words, 1607

    (3) The sum every man sentenced to the pillory would have had to pay to save him from that punishment.

    --Benjamin Thorpe's Ancient Laws and Institutes of England, 1840

    January 16, 2018