Definition of thegn in English:



  • An English thane.

    ‘That is not to say that the English thegn was any less formidable than the Norman knight, as Hastings was to show.’
    • ‘Thousands of English thegns, between the mid-ninth and the mid-eleventh centuries, came into possession of their own small estates.’
    • ‘It was not a time of men challenging each other in heroic duels (was there ever a time like this?), but a time for the thegns to organise repairs to bridges and roads.’
    • ‘Most of those that did survive, along with many of King Harold's thegns, seem to have crossed to the continent as mercenary troops.’
    • ‘More than 4,000 thegns had lost their lands and been replaced by a group of less than 200 barons.’
    • ‘Whatever the right of it, few of the fighting Northumbrian thegns marched away to face William in the south.’
    • ‘At all times, the Priest was the person to whom the locals would look for advice and arbitration (the thegn of the locality could be elsewhere or indeed be the ‘other’ party).’
    • ‘By the eleventh century, almost every estate had a church of stone or wood, built and endowed with land by the local thegn.’
    • ‘Every thegn of Mercia was there, so that even this vast hall was crowded with men and women in their gayest attire, and the serving men ran hither with bowls, basins, and platters heaped high with roast salmon and pig.’



/THān/ /θeɪn/


Mid 19th century modern representation of Old English theg(e)n, adopted to distinguish the Old English use of thane from the Scots use made familiar by Shakespeare.