Definition of fealty
- The vassal vowed fealty to the king.
- the fealty of country music fans to their favorite stars
- —Nicholas Dawidoff
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
He swore fealty to the king.
as much as I wanted to back my friend up, my fealty to the truth was greater, and I could not lie for him
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fealty.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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."
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