fe·​al·​ty | \ ˈfē(-ə)l-tē How to pronounce fealty (audio) \
plural fealties

Definition of fealty

1a : the fidelity of a vassal or feudal tenant to his lord
b : the obligation of such fidelity The vassal vowed fealty to the king.
2 : intense fidelity the fealty of country music fans to their favorite stars— Nicholas Dawidoff

Choose the Right Synonym for fealty

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

Did you know?

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."

Examples of fealty in a Sentence

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
Recent Examples on the Web The two channels gained notoriety in recent years by seeking out conservative viewers who believe right-leaning Fox News, the dominant ratings leader in cable news, did not show enough unwavering fealty to Trump. Stephen Battaglio Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 22 Jan. 2022 Some lawmakers shoulder rifles and holster Glocks as a statement of Second Amendment fealty. Washington Post, 12 Apr. 2022 For Bordiga, who took a kind of pleasure in performing an exaggerated fealty to Marxist principles, all that was needed was to have a well-armed Communist Party in place once capitalism was inevitably swept from the scene. Thomas Meaney, The New Republic, 30 Mar. 2022 So now Trump fealty comes down to a three-legged stool: The election was rigged, the insurrection was fine and Putin is a genius. Gloria Borger, CNN, 24 Feb. 2022 By making fealty to Trump the sine non qua of GOP identity, the party's leaders have done the same. Joel Mathis, The Week, 17 Feb. 2022 Earthling’s guests figure heavily into how Vedder reveals new sides of himself, since most of his reverence comes through in nods and winks rather than fealty. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 10 Feb. 2022 Stakeholder capitalism is an expansion of corporate management fealty beyond shareholders to include the workforce, supply chain, customers, communities, societies, and the environment. Mark A. Cohen, Forbes, 19 Jan. 2022 Trump himself has made clear that a range of his endorsements in Michigan and elsewhere have been predicated on fealty to his false claims about the election. Rick Klein, ABC News, 13 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of fealty

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for fealty

Middle English feute, fealtye, borrowed from Anglo-French feelté, fealté, going back to Latin fidēlitāt-, fidēlitās "faithfulness, loyalty" — more at fidelity

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The first known use of fealty was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near fealty

feal and divot



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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fealty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fealty. Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on fealty

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fealty


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