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In European feudalism, a vassal's source of income, granted to him by his lord in exchange for his services. The fief usually consisted of land and the labor of peasants who were bound to cultivate it. The income it provided supported the vassal, who fought for his lord as a knight. Dignities, offices, and money rents were also given in fief.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on fief, visit Britannica.com.