Etymology
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defray (v.)

1540s, "make compensation for, spend, pay for" (a sense now archaic); 1570s, "satisfy by payment," from Old French defraier, defrayer (15c.), perhaps from de- "out" (see de-) + fraier "spend," from frais "costs, damages caused by breakage," from Latin fractum, neuter past participle of frangere "to break" (from PIE root *bhreg- "to break").

Alternative etymology traces second element to Old High German fridu "peace," via Vulgar Latin *fredum "fine, cost." Compare affray. For possible sense development, compare pay from pax "peace."

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retaliation (n.)

"return of like for like, action of retaliating," 1580s, noun of action from Late Latin retaliare "pay back in kind," from re- "back" (see re-) + Latin talio "exaction of payment in kind," believed to be a derivative (on the notion of "compensation with the same") of talis "suchlike" from PIE *teh-li- "such" (source also of Welsh talu "to pay," Greek tēlikos "of such an age," Lithuanian tōlei, Old Church Slavonic toli "to such a degree"); see -th (1).

Originally used repayments of good or evil, now usually of injuries, insult, etc. Meaning "an instance of retaliating" is from 1640s.

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hostage (n.)
late 13c., from Old French ostage, hostage "kindness, hospitality; residence, dwelling; rent, tribute; compensation; guarantee, pledge, bail; person given as security or hostage" (11c., Modern French ôtage), which is of uncertain origin. Either from hoste "guest" (see host (n.1)) via notion of "a lodger held by a landlord as security" [Watkins, Barnhart]; or else from Late Latin obsidanus "condition of being held as security," from obses "hostage," from ob- "before" + base of sedere "to sit," with spelling influenced by Latin hostis. [OED, Century Dictionary]. Modern political/terrorism sense is from 1970.
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assets (n.)

1530s, "sufficient estate," from Anglo-French assetz, asetz (singular), from Old French assez "sufficiency, satisfaction; compensation" (11c.), noun use of adverb meaning "enough, sufficiently; very much, a great deal," from Vulgar Latin *ad satis "to sufficiency," from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + satis "enough" (from PIE root *sa- "to satisfy").

At first a legal word meaning "sufficient estate" (to satisfy debts and legacies), it passed into a general sense of "property," especially "any property that theoretically can be converted to ready money" by 1580s. The figurative use from 1670s. Asset is a 19c. artificial singular. Corporate asset stripping is attested from 1972.

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reward (v.)

c. 1300, rewarden, "to grant, bestow;" early 14c. "to give as prize or compensation," from Anglo-French and Old North French rewarder "to regard, reward" (Old French regarder) "take notice of, regard, watch over." This is from re-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see re-), + warder "look, heed, watch," from Frankish or some other Germanic language, from Proto-Germanic *wardon "to guard" (from PIE root *wer- (3) "perceive, watch out for").

Originally any form of requital, good or bad, for service or evil-doing. A doublet of regard (v.), reward was used 14c.-15c. in the senses now given to that word: "look at; care about; consider." Related: Rewarded; rewarding.

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remedy (n.)

c. 1200, remedie, "means of counteracting sin or evil of any kind; cure for a vice or temptation;" late 14c., "a cure for a disease or disorder, medicine or process which restores health;" from Anglo-French remedie, Old French remede "remedy, cure" (12c., Modern French remède) and directly from Latin remedium "a cure, remedy, medicine, antidote, that which restores health," from re-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (or perhaps literally, "again;" see re-), + mederi "to heal" (from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures").

Figurative use is from c. 1300. The meaning "legal redress; means for obtaining justice, redress, or compensation through a court" is by mid-15c.

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salary (n.)

late 13c., salarie, "compensation, payment," whether periodical, for regular service or for a specific service; from Anglo-French salarie, Old French salaire "wages, pay, reward," from Latin salarium "an allowance, a stipend, a pension," said to be originally "salt-money, soldier's allowance for the purchase of salt" [Lewis & Short] noun use of neuter of adjective salarius "of or pertaining to salt; yearly revenue from the sale of salt;" as a noun, "a dealer in salt fish," from sal (genitive salis) "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt").

Over time by 19c. it became restricted to recompense stipulated to be paid a person periodically for services, usually a fixed sum. The Via Salaria was so called because the Sabines used it to fetch sea-salt near the Porta Collina. Japanese sarariman "male salaried worker," literally "salary-man," is from English.

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rent (n.1)

[payment for use of property], mid-12c., in a legal sense, "compensation made periodically, with reference to time of possession and use of property," from Old French rente "payment due; profit, income" and Medieval Latin renta, both from Vulgar Latin *rendita, noun use of fem. past participle of *rendere "to render" (see render (v.)).

It came into English earlier in a more general, and now obsolete, sense of "income, revenue" (late Old English). The sense in political economy, "what is left from the produce of the soil after deducting what is necessary to support the producers, interest, seed-corn, etc.," is by 1815. Rent-free is attested from 1630s.

Rents (to think how much of evil there is in the two senses of that four-lettered word ! In the two methods of intonation of its synonym, Tear !) [Ruskin, "Fors Claveriga"]
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murder (n.)

"unlawful killing of another human being by a person of sound mind with premeditated malice," c. 1300, murdre, earlier morþer, from Old English morðor (plural morþras) "secret killing of a person, unlawful killing," also "mortal sin, crime; punishment, torment, misery," from Proto-Germanic *murthran (source also of Goth maurþr, and, from a variant form of the same root, Old Saxon morth, Old Frisian morth, Old Norse morð, Middle Dutch moort, Dutch moord, German Mord "murder"), from suffixed form of PIE root *mer- "to rub away, harm" (also "to die" and forming words referring to death and to beings subject to death).

The spelling with -d- probably reflects influence of Anglo-French murdre, from Old French mordre, from Medieval Latin murdrum, which is from the Germanic word. A parallel form murther persisted into 19c.

In Old Norse, custom distinguished morð "secret slaughter" from vig "slaying." The former involved concealment, or slaying a man by night or when asleep, and was a heinous crime. The latter was not a disgrace, if the killer acknowledged his deed, but he was subject to vengeance or demand for compensation.

Mordre wol out that se we day by day. [Chaucer, "Nun's Priest's Tale," c. 1386]

Weakened sense of "very unpleasant situation" is from 1878. Inverted slang sense of "something excellent or terrific" is by 1940. As the name of a parlor or children's game, by 1933.

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guild (n.)

also gild, early 13c., yilde (spelling later influenced by Old Norse gildi "guild, brotherhood"), a semantic fusion of Old English gegield "guild, brotherhood," and gield "service, offering; payment, tribute; compensation," from Proto-Germanic *geldja- "payment, contribution" (source also of Old Frisian geld "money," Old Saxon geld "payment, sacrifice, reward," Old High German gelt "payment, tribute;" see yield (v.)).

The connecting sense is of a contribution or payment to join a protective or trade society. But some look to the alternative prehistoric sense of "sacrifice," as if in worship, and see the word as meaning a combination for religious purposes, either Christian or pagan. The Anglo-Saxon guilds had a strong religious component; they were burial societies that paid for Masses for the souls of deceased members as well as paying fines in cases of justified crime.

The earliest reference was to sacred banquets (Tacit: Germania 21-2) for which a contribution had to be paid, and which furthermore accounts for the meaning 'fraternity' of the formation *geldja-. In medieval times the economically oriented fraternities, the guilds, adopted this word, but it could still be used in reference to religious fraternities .... The contribution to the banquets, *gelda-, acquired a legal meaning 'recompense', but also the meaning 'money, currency' in general. [Dirk Boutkan, "Old Frisian Etymological Dictionary"]

Continental guilds of merchants, incorporated in each town or city and holding exclusive rights of doing business there, arrived after the Conquest. In many cases they became the governing body of a town (compare Guildhall, which came to be the London city hall). Trade guilds arose 14c., as craftsmen united to protect their common interest.

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