[wop-uhn-teyk, wap-]
(formerly in N England and the Midlands) a subdivision of a shire or county corresponding to a hundred.

before 1000; Middle English < Old Norse vāpnatak (compare Old English wǣpen-getæc) show of weapons at public voting, equivalent to vāpna (genitive plural of vāpn weapon) + tak taking; see take

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World English Dictionary
wapentake (ˈwɒpənˌteɪk, ˈwæp-)
English legal history a subdivision of certain shires or counties, esp in the Midlands and North of England, corresponding to the hundred in other shires
[Old English wǣpen(ge)tæc, from Old Norse vāpnatak, from vápnweapon + taktake]

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Word Origin & History

division of certain Eng. counties (equivalent to a hundred in other places), O.E. wæpengetæc, from O.N. vapnatak, from vapna, gen. pl. of vapn "weapon" + tak "touching," from taka "to take, grasp." Perhaps it originally was an armed muster with inspection of weapons, or else an assembly where
consent was expressed by brandishing swords and spears.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


an administrative division of the English counties of York, Lincoln, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, and Rutland, first clearly referred to in 962/963 and corresponding to the "hundred" in other parts of England. The term wapentake is of Scandinavian origin and meant the taking of weapons; it later signified the clash of arms by which the people assembled in a local court expressed assent. Danish influence was strong in those English counties where wapentakes existed.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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