feudalism

noun
feu·​dal·​ism | \ˈfyü-də-ˌli-zəm \

Definition of feudalism 

1 : the system of political organization prevailing in Europe from the 9th to about the 15th centuries having as its basis the relation of lord to vassal (see vassal sense 1) with all land held in fee (see fee sense 1) and as chief characteristics homage, the service of tenants under arms and in court, wardship (see wardship sense 1), and forfeiture (see forfeiture sense 1)

2 : any of various political or social systems similar to medieval feudalism

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Other Words from feudalism

feudalist \ ˈfyü-​də-​list \ noun
feudalistic \ ˌfyü-​də-​ˈli-​stik \ adjective

Examples of feudalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

To a largely illiterate society trying to overcome feudalism, these posters again give us insight into how the new Soviet government wanted to emphasize progress. Anne Tschida, miamiherald, "The Power of Propaganda," 22 June 2018 In 2017, a form of data feudalism governs the digital ecosystem: Private companies control and reap value from big data with few obligations to the very people who generate their most prized asset. Michelle De Mooy, Fortune, "Is Equifax Going to Be Punished for Losing Our Data?," 12 Sep. 2017 Marx saw socialism as a new mode of production that would follow capitalism the same way that capitalism had followed feudalism. John B. Judis, New Republic, "The Socialism America Needs Now," 24 Aug. 2017 In the space of a year, the state had abolished feudalism and adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizen, a constitution intended to protect French citizens' equality, freedom of speech, and political representation. Rachel Lewis, Time, "President Trump Is Visiting Paris on Bastille Day. Here's Why That Matters," 12 July 2017 Russia has been given many labels, from kleptocracy to Mafia state, but the most analytically helpful may be among the oldest: feudalism. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, "Putin’s Shadow Cabinet and the Bridge to Crimea," 29 May 2017 Putin’s Russia has been given many labels, from kleptocracy to Mafia state, but the most analytically helpful may be among the oldest: feudalism. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, "Putin’s Shadow Cabinet and the Bridge to Crimea," 29 May 2017 Mr. Thomas’s book portrayed the vast complexity of the Spanish Civil War, with its background of feudalism and religious fervor, but it was also seen as the chronicle of a noble but failed cause. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Hugh Thomas, historian whose ‘Spanish Civil War’ was smuggled across borders, dies at 85," 13 May 2017 Fifteen hundred years later, the rules of Middle Ages’ feudalism were formal. Scott Feldmann, Orange County Register, "Price for modern day vassals can be steep," 5 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'feudalism.' 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 feudalism

1773, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near feudalism

feud

feuda

feudal

feudalism

feudality

feudalize

feudal system

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Time Traveler for feudalism

The first known use of feudalism was in 1773

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More Definitions for feudalism

feudalism

noun

English Language Learners Definition of feudalism

: a social system that existed in Europe during the Middle Ages in which people worked and fought for nobles who gave them protection and the use of land in return

feudalism

noun
feu·​dal·​ism | \ˈfyü-də-ˌliz-əm \

Kids Definition of feudalism

: a social system existing in medieval Europe in which people worked and fought for nobles who gave them protection and land in return

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