REH Word of the Week: guerdon

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1. a reward, recompense, or requital.

-verb (used with object)
2. to give a guerdon to; reward.

[Middle English, origin: 1325-75; from Old French gueredon, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German widarlon, Old English witherlean; final element influenced by Latin donum gift]


Ride with us on a dim, lost road,
To the dawn of a distant day
When swords were bare for a guerdon rare —
The Flower of Black Cathay

[part of the epigraph to the tale “Red Blades of Black Cathay,” a story about the resistance of the eponymous kingdom to the hordes of Genghis Khan (1162-1227). L. Sprague de Camp would no doubt have pointed out that, as used by Howard, “guerdon” is technically anachronistic, as according to the dictionary’s etymological data the word didn’t come into use until a century after the events of the story.]