Definition of fealty
1a : the fidelity of a vassal or feudal tenant to his lordb : 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
fealty was our Word of the Day on 01/09/2016. Hear the podcast!
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
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."
Origin and Etymology of fealty
Middle English feute, fealtye, from Anglo-French feelté, fealté, from Latin fidelitat-, fidelitas — more at fidelity
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of fealty
FEALTY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of fealty for English Language Learners
: loyalty to a person, group, etc.
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