Word Origin & History
O.E. geldan (Anglian), gieldan (W.Saxon) "to pay" (class III strong verb; past tense geald, p.p. golden), from P.Gmc. *geldanan "pay" (cf. O.S. geldan "to be worth," O.N. gjaldo "to repay, return," M.Du. ghelden, Du. gelden "to cost, be worth, concern," O.H.G. geltan, Ger. gelten "to be worth," Goth.
fra-gildan "to repay, requite"), perhaps from PIE *ghel-to- "I pay," found only in Balto-Slavic and Gmc., unless O.C.S. zledo, Lith. geliuoti are Gmc. loan-words. Sense developed in Eng. via use to translate L. reddere, Fr. rendre, and had expanded by c.1300 to "repay, return, render (service), produce, surrender." Related to M.L.G. and M.Du. gelt, Du. geld, Ger. Geld "money." Earliest Eng. sense survives in financial "yield from investments." The noun is O.E. gield "payment, sum of money;" extended sense of "production" (as of crops) is first attested c.1440. Yielding in sense of "giving way to physical force" is recorded from 1665.