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See also: Wage and wäge



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Etymology 1Edit

From Anglo-Norman, from Old Northern French wage, a northern variant of Old French gauge, guage (whence modern French gage), Latin wadium, from Frankish *waddī (cognate with Old English wedd), from Proto-Germanic *wadją (pledge), from Proto-Indo-European *wedʰ- (to pledge, redeem a pledge). Akin to Old Norse veðja (to pledge), Gothic 𐍅𐌰𐌳𐌹 (wadi). Compare also the doublet gage. More at wed. Possible contributory etymology from Old English wǣġe (meaning "weight", as wages at times have been goods or coin measured on a scale).


wage (plural wages)

  1. An amount of money paid to a worker for a specified quantity of work, usually calculated on an hourly basis and expressed in an amount of money per hour.
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English wagen (to pledge), from Anglo-Norman, Old Northern French wagier, a northern variant of Old French guagier (whence modern French gager), itself either from guage or from a derivative of Frankish *waddi, *wadja, possibly through a Vulgar Latin intermediate *wadiare from *wadium.


wage (third-person singular simple present wages, present participle waging, simple past and past participle waged)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To wager, bet.
    • William Shakespeare (c.1564–1616)
      My life I never held but as a pawn / To wage against thy enemies.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Hakluyt to this entry?)
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To expose oneself to, as a risk; to incur, as a danger; to venture; to hazard.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To employ for wages; to hire.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter xviij, in Le Morte Darthur, book I:
      Thenne said Arthur I wille goo with yow / Nay said the kynges ye shalle not at this tyme / for ye haue moche to doo yet in these landes / therfore we wille departe / and with the grete goodes that we haue goten in these landes by youre yeftes we shalle wage good knyghtes & withstande the kynge Claudas malyce
    • Raphael Holinshed (1529-1580)
      abundance of treasure which he had in store, wherewith he might wage soldiers
  4. (transitive) To conduct or carry out (a war or other contest).
    • John Dryden (1631-1700)
      [He pondered] which of all his sons was fit / To reign and wage immortal war with wit.
    • Isaac Taylor (1787–1865)
      The two are waging war, and the one triumphs by the destruction of the other.
  5. (transitive) To adventure, or lay out, for hire or reward; to hire out.
    • Edmund Spenser (c.1552–1599)
      Thou [] must wage thy works for wealth.
  6. (obsolete, law, Britain) To give security for the performance of.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Burrill to this entry?)
Usage notesEdit
  • "Wage" collocates strongly with "war", leading to expressions such as To wage peace, or To wage football implying the inclusion of a large element of conflict in the action.
Derived termsEdit






  1. (archaic) singular present subjunctive of wagen




  1. First-person singular present of wagen.
  2. First-person singular subjunctive I of wagen.
  3. Third-person singular subjunctive I of wagen.
  4. Imperative singular of wagen.

Middle DutchEdit


From Old Dutch wāga, from Proto-Germanic *wēgō.


wâge f

  1. weight
  2. a certain weight, of which the exact value varied
  3. weighing scale
  4. weighhouse


This noun needs an inflection-table template.

Derived termsEdit


Further readingEdit

  • waghe (I)”, in Vroegmiddelnederlands Woordenboek, 2000
  • wage (I)”, in Middelnederlandsch Woordenboek, 1929

Old FrenchEdit

Etymology 1Edit

Old Norse vágr.


wage f (oblique plural wages, nominative singular wage, nominative plural wages)

  1. wave (moving part of a liquid, etc.)

Etymology 2Edit

see gage


wage m (oblique plural wages, nominative singular wages, nominative plural wage)

  1. Alternative form of gage