Wager of battle

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Wager of battle See under Wager n.
    • Wager of battle (O. Eng. Law) the giving of gage, or pledge, for trying a cause by single combat, formerly allowed in military, criminal, and civil causes. In writs of right, where the trial was by champions, the tenant produced his champion, who, by throwing down his glove as a gage, thus waged, or stipulated, battle with the champion of the demandant, who, by taking up the glove, accepted the challenge. The wager of battel, which has been long in disuse, was abolished in England in 1819, by a statute passed in consequence of a defendant's having waged his battle in a case which arose about that period. See Battel.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Wager of battle trial by combat, an ancient usage which permitted the accused and accuser, in defect of sufficient direct evidence, to challenge each other to mortal combat, for issue of the dispute
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Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. wager (Fr. gager), to pledge.

Usage

In literature:

Once at war, you have made wager of battle with him: it is he to die, or else you.
"Heroes and Hero Worship" by Thomas Carlyle
A challenge could not, either to war or wager of battle, be refused with honor, though a superior was not bound to fight an inferior in rank.
"The Danish History, Books I-IX" by Saxo Grammaticus ("Saxo the Learned")
Three days after, in the tilt-yard of Gloucester Castle, the wager of battle was fought.
"Historic Girls" by E. S. Brooks
How could Don John refuse the wager of battle thus haughtily proffered?
"The Rise of the Dutch Republic, Volume III.(of III) 1574-84" by John Lothrop Motley
Battle, wager of, abolished.
"The Constitutional History of England From 1760 to 1860" by Charles Duke Yonge
This was to be no trial by wager of battle.
"The Uttermost Farthing" by R. Austin Freeman
Their right to do so is now being decided by wager of battle.
"Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 12, August, 1863, No. 70" by Various
They neither tendered nor accepted any challenge to the wager of battle.
"The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, Vol. 1 (of 2)" by Jefferson Davis
Cobham offers the Wager of Battle.
"Henry of Monmouth, Volume 2" by J. Endell Tyler
Once at war, you have made wager of battle with him: it is he to die, or else you.
"Sartor Resartus, and On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History" by Thomas Carlyle
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In poetry:

Forgael. Maybe it is but natural to doubt me.
You've never known, I'd lay a wager on it,
A melancholy that a cup of wine,
A lucky battle, or a woman's kiss
Could not amend.
"A Dramatic Poem" by William Butler Yeats
Forgael. Maybe it is but natural to doubt me.
You’ve never known, I’d lay a wager on it,
A melancholy that a cup of wine,
A lucky battle, or a woman’s kiss
Could not amend.
"The Shadowy Waters: The Shadowy Waters" by William Butler Yeats