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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
wager \wa"ger\ (w[=a]"j[~e]r), n. [OE. wager, wajour, OF. wagiere, or wageure, F. gageure. See Wage, v. t.] [1913 Webster] 1. Something deposited, laid, or hazarded on the event of a contest or an unsettled question; a bet; a stake; a pledge. [1913 Webster] Besides these plates for horse races, the wagers may be as the persons please. --Sir W. Temple. [1913 Webster] If any atheist can stake his soul for a wager against such an inexhaustible disproportion, let him never hereafter accuse others of credulity. --Bentley. [1913 Webster] 2. (Law) A contract by which two parties or more agree that a certain sum of money, or other thing, shall be paid or delivered to one of them, on the happening or not happening of an uncertain event. --Bouvier. [1913 Webster] Note: At common law a wager is considered as a legal contract which the courts must enforce unless it be on a subject contrary to public policy, or immoral, or tending to the detriment of the public, or affecting the interest, feelings, or character of a third person. In many of the United States an action can not be sustained upon any wager or bet. --Chitty. --Bouvier. [1913 Webster] 3. That on which bets are laid; the subject of a bet. [1913 Webster] Wager of battel, or Wager of battle (O. Eng. Law), the giving of gage, or pledge, for trying a cause by single combat, formerly allowed in military, criminal, and civil causes. In writs of right, where the trial was by champions, the tenant produced his champion, who, by throwing down his glove as a gage, thus waged, or stipulated, battle with the champion of the demandant, who, by taking up the glove, accepted the challenge. The wager of battel, which has been long in disuse, was abolished in England in 1819, by a statute passed in consequence of a defendant's having waged his battle in a case which arose about that period. See Battel. Wager of law (Law), the giving of gage, or sureties, by a defendant in an action of debt, that at a certain day assigned he would take a law, or oath, in open court, that he did not owe the debt, and at the same time bring with him eleven neighbors (called compurgators), who should avow upon their oaths that they believed in their consciences that he spoke the truth. Wager policy. (Insurance Law) See under Policy. Wagering contract or gambling contract. A contract which is of the nature of wager. Contracts of this nature include various common forms of valid commercial contracts, as contracts of insurance, contracts dealing in futures, options, etc. Other wagering contracts and bets are now generally made illegal by statute against betting and gambling, and wagering has in many cases been made a criminal offence. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] [1913 Webster]