Etymology of the word ‘guilt’

by 5ocietyx

Old English gylt “crime, sin, fault, fine,” of unknown origin, though some suspect a connection to Old English gieldan “to pay for, debt,” but OED editors find this “inadmissible phonologically.”

The suspicion that the word ‘guilty’ originates from ‘gieldan’ meaning ‘to pay a debt’ makes sense even if the OED consider it inadmissable phonologically speaking.

When the courts find a defendant guilty the next thing they do is make them ‘pay their debt to society’.

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