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A.Word.A.Day--danegeld

Pronunciation RealAudio

Danegeld (DAYN-geld) noun, also Danegelt

1. An annual tax imposed on English landholders (c. 10-12th century) to buy off Danish invaders, continuing later under the name tallage.

2. Protection money, or some other coercive payment.

[From Middle English, from Dane + geld (payment, tribute), from Old English.]

Here is Rudyard Kipling's poem on danegeld.

"Russia successfully cajoles and bullies more Danegeld out of the IMF and the West." A Puzzling Progress; The Economist (London, UK); Mar 13, 1999.

"What's unfair is that we make it tough for young people to get a job unless they pay danegeld to a four-year college to get a certificate that says it's okay to employ them." James Michaels; Truth in Packaging; Forbes Magazine (New York); Dec 28, 1998.

This week's theme: words from the world of money and finance.

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