Etymology of “Thane”


Learn to pronounce noun HISTORICAL noun: thane; plural noun: thanes

  1. (in Anglo-Saxon England) a man who held land granted by the king or by a military nobleman, ranking between an ordinary freeman and a hereditary noble.
    • (in Scotland) a man, often the chief of a clan, who held land from a Scottish king and ranked with an earl’s son.”the Thane of Cawdor”


Old English theg(e)n ‘servant, soldier’, of Germanic origin; related to German Degen ‘warrior’, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek teknon ‘child’, tokeus ‘parent’.

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