al·​le·​giance | \ə-ˈlē-jən(t)s \

Definition of allegiance 

1a : the obligation of a feudal vassal to his liege lord

b(1) : the fidelity owed by a subject or citizen to a sovereign or government I pledge allegiance to my country.

(2) : the obligation of an alien to the government under which the alien resides

2 : devotion or loyalty to a person, group, or cause allegiance to a political party

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Other Words from allegiance

allegiant \ -​jənt \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for allegiance

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

Examples of allegiance in a Sentence

He owes allegiance to them for all the help they have given him. Both candidates are working hard to convince voters to switch allegiances.

Recent Examples on the Web

But this has been a banner year for anti-gerrymandering ballot initiatives which bypass governors and legislatures and their party allegiances. The Economist, "America’s electoral system gives the Republicans advantages over Democrats," 12 July 2018 An interpretive lens of power weaponizes sacred scripture and turns our partisan allegiances into false idols. Jonathan L. Walton, Time, "Why Authoritarians Love to Quote This Bible Passage," 22 June 2018 After administrative delays from FIFA -- during which Sweden made a late attempt to change his mind -- Iran, a nation with a solitary World Cup victory in its history, won the race for his permanent allegiance. Henry Young, CNN, "Your Country Needs You! What nationality means to the modern-day footballer," 4 June 2018 They are instructed to email him to confirm their allegiance. Kathleen Hou, The Cut, "The 12 Biggest Revelations From Deciem CEO Brandon Truaxe’s Open Letter," 23 May 2018 Some swear allegiance to sports teams; others to shoemakers. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Vogue Staffers Pick the Most Chic and Comfortable Shoes to Wear to Work This Summer," 28 June 2018 Legislators who had sworn allegiance to the Second Amendment voted to raise the age to purchase a rifle from 18 to 21, extend the waiting period for all gun purchases, and ban bump stocks. Mary Ellen Klas And Kyra Gurney, miamiherald, "Parkland students and parents decided ‘this time must be different.’ And it was. | Miami Herald," 11 Mar. 2018 According to prosecutors, Abdurrahman founded Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, a network of extremists that pledged allegiance to IS and was opposed to Indonesia’s secular government. Time, "The Radical Cleric Behind Indonesia Starbucks Bombing Has Been Sentenced to Death," 22 June 2018 During the attack, gunman Omar Mateen called 911 and pledged allegiance to the leader of the virulently anti-gay Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a group that releases propaganda videos of gay men being thrown off buildings. Tim Fitzsimons /, NBC News, "What really happened that night at Pulse," 12 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'allegiance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of allegiance

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for allegiance

Middle English aligeaunce, from Anglo-French allegeance, alteration of ligeance, from lige liege

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Last Updated

25 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for allegiance

The first known use of allegiance was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for allegiance



English Language Learners Definition of allegiance

: loyalty to a person, country, group, etc.


al·​le·​giance | \ə-ˈlē-jəns \

Kids Definition of allegiance

: loyalty and service to a group, country, or idea I pledge allegiance to my country.

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