al·​le·​giance ə-ˈlē-jən(t)s How to pronounce allegiance (audio)
: the obligation of a feudal vassal to his liege lord
: the fidelity owed by a subject or citizen to a sovereign or government
I pledge allegiance to my country.
: the obligation of an alien to the government under which the alien resides
: 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 Although the winter weather outlooks are perhaps the almanacs’ highest-profile product, Duncan’s competitor is clear about where its allegiance lies. Meghan Bartels, Scientific American, 10 Nov. 2023 Biden’s public display of allegiance to their union was surely reinforced by private signals the administration sent out to both sides. Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 30 Oct. 2023 At the turn of the tenth century, most of the Islamic world lived under the rule of either the Abbasid caliphate, which claimed universal authority over all Muslims, or independent rulers who swore nominal allegiance to the Abbasids. Nicholas Liu, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Oct. 2023 The funeral for Ayoub and the three girls took place Tuesday here in Blida, one in a string of border towns defined by allegiance to Hezbollah and its decades-long fight against Israel. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov. 2023 In early 2022, ISIS claimed responsibility for a stabbing and ramming attack in southern Israel carried out by an Arab Israeli who had given allegiance to the caliphate. Cole Bunzel, Foreign Affairs, 2 Nov. 2023 One vanished on Tuesday, allegedly after being hacked by a group claiming allegiance to Ukraine. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 20 Oct. 2023 As in his political books, Phillips paid minute attention to how ethnicity, religion, and locality affected the allegiances of different colonies and states. Nr Editors, National Review, 20 Oct. 2023 The organization brands itself as a Shia resistance movement within Lebanon that believes in the country's right to self-determination, while also pledging its allegiance to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. Matt Bradley, NBC News, 14 Oct. 2023 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


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.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on allegiance

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