allegiance

noun

al·​le·​giance ə-ˈlē-jən(t)s How to pronounce allegiance (audio)
1
a
: 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
allegiant 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 Picasso supported aspects of the Spanish Republic, mostly artist relief, declared his Communist allegiance in 1937, and was appointed, without soliciting it, director of the Prado in 1936. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 17 Feb. 2024 Nightclubs come and go as patrons switch allegiances, which makes Mythos’ longevity even more unusual. Melissa Oyler, Charlotte Observer, 14 Feb. 2024 When that happens, the young man’s allegiance switches from mom and family to his wife. Jeanne Phillips, The Mercury News, 14 Feb. 2024 Real Madrid president Florentino Perez wouldn't stand in the way of Ceballos switching allegiances to a crosstown rival, and joining an outfit that already boasts a number of players with a history in the Bernabeu such as Sergio Reguilon, Alvaro Morata, Marcos Llorente and Mario Hermoso. Tom Sanderson, Forbes, 10 Feb. 2024 Rhun islanders swore allegiance to the British in an unsuccessful attempt to secure protection from the Dutch, who committed genocide by killing or enslaving 90 percent of the Bandanese people. Muktita Suhartono Nyimas Laula, New York Times, 9 Feb. 2024 Despite his half-century strong allegiance to the team, despite the five Super Bowls and the 30 or so Cowboys games he’s seen in person all over the country and all the jerseys hanging in his closet and the Dallas memorabilia in his office, Devine, 59, was swearing off his Cowboys fandom forever. Sean Gregory, TIME, 19 Jan. 2024 Some Trump supporters also claimed that tens of thousands of Democrats were being paid to switch allegiances for the caucus and vote for Haley. David Gilbert, WIRED, 16 Jan. 2024 The Aggies’ remarkable roster flip is emblematic of a new era in collegiate athletics, where players can and do transfer at will with little allegiance to the name on the front of their jerseys. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'allegiance.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near allegiance

Cite this Entry

“Allegiance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/allegiance. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

allegiance

noun
al·​le·​giance ə-ˈlē-jən(t)s How to pronounce allegiance (audio)
1
: loyalty and obedience owed to one's country or government
2
: devotion or loyalty to a person, group, or cause

More from Merriam-Webster on allegiance

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