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fealty

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noun fe·al·ty \ˈfē(-ə)l-tē\

Simple Definition of fealty

  • : loyalty to a person, group, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of fealty

plural fealties

  1. 1 a :  the fidelity of a vassal or feudal tenant to his lord b :  the obligation of such fidelity

  2. 2 :  intense fidelity

Examples of fealty in a sentence

  1. He swore fealty to the king.

  2. <as much as I wanted to back my friend up, my fealty to the truth was greater, and I could not lie for him>



Did You Know?

In The Use of Law, published posthumously in 1629, Francis Bacon wrote, "Fealty is to take an oath upon a book, that he will be a faithful Tenant to the King." That's a pretty accurate summary of the early meaning of fealty. Early forms of the term were used in Middle English around 1300, when they specifically designated the loyalty of a vassal to a lord. Eventually, the meaning of the word broadened. Fealty can be paid to a country, a principle, or a leader of any kind—though the synonyms fidelity and loyalty are more commonly used. Fealty comes from the Anglo-French word feelté, or fealté, which comes from the Latin fidelitas, meaning "fidelity." These words are ultimately derived from fides, the Latin word for "faith."

Origin of fealty

Middle English feute, fealtye, from Anglo-French feelté, fealté, from Latin fidelitat-, fidelitas — more at fidelity


First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of fealty

fidelity, allegiance, fealty, loyalty, devotion, piety mean faithfulness to something to which one is bound by pledge or duty. fidelity implies strict and continuing faithfulness to an obligation, trust, or duty <marital fidelity>. allegiance suggests an adherence like that of citizens to their country <pledging allegiance>. fealty implies a fidelity acknowledged by the individual and as compelling as a sworn vow <fealty to the truth>. loyalty implies a faithfulness that is steadfast in the face of any temptation to renounce, desert, or betray <valued the loyalty of his friends>. devotion stresses zeal and service amounting to self-dedication <a painter's devotion to her art>. piety stresses fidelity to obligations regarded as natural and fundamental <filial piety>.

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