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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Not every thane had been left behind to act as a watchdog.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Thane \Thane\ (th[=a]n), n. [OE. thein, [thorn]ein, AS. [thorn]egen, [thorn]egn; akin to OHG. degan a follower, warrior, boy, MHG. degen a hero, G. degen hero, soldier, Icel. [thorn]egn a thane, a freeman; probably akin to Gr. te`knon a child, ti`ktein to bear, beget, or perhaps to Goth. A dignitary under the Anglo-Saxons and Danes in England. Of these there were two orders, the king's thanes, who attended the kings in their courts and held lands immediately of them, and the ordinary thanes, who were lords of manors and who had particular jurisdiction within their limits. After the Conquest, this title was disused, and baron took its place.

Note: Among the ancient Scots, thane was a title of honor, which seems gradually to have declined in its significance.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

Old English þegn "military follower, one who holds lands in exchange for military service," also "vassal, retainer, attendant," from Proto-Germanic *thegnas (cognates: Old Saxon thegan "follower, warrior, boy," Old Norse þegn "thane, freeman," Old High German thegan, German Degen "thane, warrior, hero"), from PIE *tek-no- (cognates: Sanskrit takman "descendant, child," Greek teknon "child"), from root *tek- "to beget, give birth to" (cognates: Greek tekos "child, the young of animals," tokos "childbirth, offspring, produce of money, interest"). Also used in Old English for "disciple of Christ." Specific sense of "man who ranks between an earl and a freeman" is late 15c.\n

\nThe modern spelling is from Scottish, where early 13c. it came to mean "chief of a clan, king's baron," and it has predominated in English probably due to the influence of "Macbeth;" normal orthographic changes from Old English ðegn would have produced Modern English *thain. Some historians now use thegn to distinguish Anglo-Saxon thanes from Scottish thanes.


n. (context historical English) A rank of nobility in pre-Norman England, roughly equivalent to baron."[,+the+king%27s+thanes%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=26ygUYzWFOyXiAfssoHACw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22There%20were%20two%20orders%2C%20the%20king's%20thanes%22&f=false thane]", entry in '''1852''', ''Putnam's Home Cyclopedia: Hand-Book of Literature and the Fine Arts'', p594 — The '''thanes''' in England were formerly persons of some dignity; there were two orders, the king's '''thanes''', who attended the kings in their courts and held lands immediately of them, and the ordinary '''thanes''', who were lords of manors and who had particular jurisdiction within their limits.(...)After the [Norman] Conquest, this title was disused, and ''baron'' took its place.

  1. n. a feudal lord or baron

  2. a man ranking above an ordinary freeman and below a noble in Anglo-Saxon England (especially one who gave military service in exchange for land)


Thane is a city in the state of Maharashtra in Konkan Division. Thane is a part of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

Thane (Lok Sabha constituency)

Thane Lok Sabha constituency (formerly, Thana Lok Sabha constituency) is one of the 48 Lok Sabha (parliamentary) constituencies of Maharashtra state in western India.

Thane (Vidhan Sabha constituency)

Thane Vidhan Sabha constituency is one of the 288 Vidhan Sabha (Assembly) constituencies of Maharashtra state in Western India.

Thane (Scotland)

Thane was the title given to a local royal official in medieval eastern Scotland, equivalent in rank to the son of an earl, who was at the head of an administrative and socio-economic unit known as a shire or thanage.

In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, Macbeth holds the title "Thane of Glamis".

Usage examples of "thane".

Thane was taken ere the dawn of day, and flung into a briery dell, where it was left, having been previously stript of every article of value.

He wandered off then, shouting at one of the thanes who had mismeasured the placement of a hazel-rod.

Of them all, only the Archiem and Harr, Thane sen Tenko, seemed fairly sober, although each kept urging the other to drink deep.

These gifts or their equivalent were reclaimed by the thane when the villein died, but normally awarded again to his heir to renew the bargain.

Cuthan, Earl of Bryn, for Taras and Bru Mardan, and all their thanes, swear to defend the rights of him holding Hen Amas, to march to war under his command, to gather levies and revenues, to acknowledge him lord and sovereign over its claims and courts and to abide by his judgments in all disputes.

The Teutonic thanes sided with Teutobod, and the Cimbric thanes with Boiorix.

Jac Coplin and Len Congar were accused of stealing a cow, you knew they were thieves, but you made Master Thane prove they had stolen it before you let the Village Council have them strapped.

And what of sweet, foolish Crania, who had been singularly unchanged by her brief marriage to an aged thane?

Odun, the valiant ealderman who led them, fled, with his thanes and their followers, to the castle of Kwineth, a stronghold defended only by a loose wall of stones, in the Saxon fashion.

Uwen said, and with a sweep of his arm indicated the way inside for all of them in the center of his circle: the lord viceroy, and the earls and thanes and ealdormen who had joined them.

Teranthirie father was there, and the Bryalt abbot, with the two nuns, the thanes and squires of villages, and the ealdormen, not mentioning their wives, and the guards and servants besides.

When Gunter and his thanes were not out raiding or hunting, they spent their time carousing in the hall, wagering on contests of strength and song.

One day, when Gunter and his thanes were out, Hedwig and I conspired to see Joscelin bathed.

The Thane of Lochaber wrapped Elen in his arms, his grey-streaked beard tickling her cheek as it always did.

Because those Sequani who had not gone to Carnutum were massed closer to the Rhenus in case the Suebic Germans tried to cross, he was not challenged or opposed, nor asked any questions by some thane suspicious as to why a stray Aeduan should be riding through the lands of recent enemies with a pack horse for his only company.