Word of the Day: Guerdon

Guerdon, a rewardWord of the Day: Guerdon


noun : GUR-dun


: reward, recompense


“The big hurdle … was early promotion to captain. … This early promotion, this small dry irrevocable statistic in the record, was his guerdon for a quarter of a century of getting things done.” — Herman Wouk, The Winds of War, 1971

“The guerdon in attending a repertory company’s concert is being able to savor the variety of work on display.” — Juan Michael Porter II, Broadway World, 7 June 2016

Did you Know?

Guerdon dates back to the 14th century, when Geoffrey Chaucer used it in The Romaunt of the Rose (ca. 1366): “He quitte him wel his guerdon there.” It derives from Anglo-French and is thought to be related to the Old High German widarlōn, meaning “reward.” Shakespeare used guerdon a couple of times in his plays. In Love’s Labour’s Lost, for example, Berowne, attendant to King Ferdinand, sends the clown Costard to deliver a letter to Rosaline, attendant to the princess of France, handing him a shilling with the line, “There’s thy guerdon; go.” Guerdon is a rare word today, but contemporary writers do use it on occasion for poetic effect.

My Take

Ok, I admit, this is a tough one. I have never heard the word before, or I had, I promptly forgot about it. It’s not a common term, and one that I doubt will make it to my vocabulary.

To gain insight into the word, I Googled it. Good ol’ Google. Don’t you love it? Sorry, I digress. When I went looking for images related to the word, I thought that I wouldn’t find much. Surprise! Wrong again. It seems that many companies use the word in their businesses and products. Now that I understand the meaning of the word, it makes sense to me.

Who knew? Guerdon.

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