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

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 The attacker, Chechen immigrant Khamzat Azimov, recorded a cellphone video pledging allegiance to ISIS, which the group released the day after his death. Benjamin Hart, Daily Intelligencer, "ISIS Claims Deadly Second Attack of the Weekend," 13 May 2018 Playing fantasy requires no allegiance to any uniform. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc: Your move, Cincinnati Bengals fan," 3 Jan. 2018 For those of us who make a habit of investing our allegiance in underdogs, then, the World Cup often reads like an interminable, run-on sentence of tragedy, loosely punctuated with eruptions of joy. Kanishk Tharoor, The Atlantic, "The Elusive Underdog Magic of the World Cup," 14 July 2018 Everything else, from your other political allegiances to your proposals for a post-occupation status quo, is secondary. Abraham Riesman, Daily Intelligencer, "Can the young activists of IfNotNow change the conversation about Israel and the Palestinians, or will their contradictions hold them back?," 12 July 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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Phrases Related to allegiance

the Pledge of Allegiance

Statistics for allegiance

Last Updated

11 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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Comments on allegiance

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lying above or upon

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