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Abstract

This article analyses the Old English terms for ‘pledge-giving’ within the context of Anglo-Saxon law codes and related material such as charters and wills by means of a contextual analysis of the occurrences of such terms. It argues for the centrality of the concept to Anglo-Saxon legal interaction as the means by which agreements, in particular between individuals, were made binding and shows that this had linguistic consequences by tracing the development of the collocation að and wedd (‘oath and pledge’) into a formulaic word pair.