From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Weregild \Were"gild`\, n. [AS. wergild; wer a man, value set on
   a man's life + gild payment of money; akin to G. wehrgeld.
   [root]285. See Were a man, and Geld, n.] (O. Eng. Law)
   The price of a man's head; a compensation paid of a man
   killed, partly to the king for the loss of a subject, partly
   to the lord of a vassal, and partly to the next of kin. It
   was paid by the murderer. [Written also weregeld,
   weregelt, etc.] --Blackstone.
   [1913 Webster]
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