"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Sunday, 20 January 2013


In medieval England, lairwite was a fine paid by a villein to the lord of the manor after his daughter committed fornication or adultery. Also spelled leywrite, learwite, and leyrewite. Some historians, such as Zvi Razi in Life, Marriage and Death in a Medieval Parish: Economy, Society and Demography in Halesowen, 1270-1400 , contend that this statement implies an illegitimate birth; however, not all historians agree that this action always resulted in the birth of a child.

1 comment:

  1. We have an old Swedish noun "vite" meaning fine(s). There's also an old verb "lägra" for having sexual intercourse, especially without being married. There were similar laws in Sweden.