fi·​del·​i·​ty | \fə-ˈde-lə-tē, fī-\
plural fidelities

Definition of fidelity 

1a : the quality or state of being faithful his fidelity to his wife

b : accuracy in details : exactness The movie's director insisted on total fidelity to the book.

2 : the degree to which an electronic device (such as a record player, radio, or television) accurately reproduces its effect (such as sound or picture)

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Choose the Right Synonym for fidelity

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

Have a Little Faith in Fidelity

You can have faith in "fidelity," which has existed in English since the 15th century; its etymological path winds back through Middle English and Middle French, eventually arriving at the Latin verb fidere, meaning "to trust." "Fidere" is also an ancestor of other English words associated with trust or faith, such as "fiduciary" (which means "of, relating to, or involving a confidence or trust" and is often used in the context of a monetary trust) and "confide" (meaning "to trust" or "to show trust by imparting secrets"). Nowadays "fidelity" is often used in reference to recording and broadcast devices, conveying the idea that a broadcast or recording is "faithful" to the live sound or picture that it reproduces.

Examples of fidelity in a Sentence

Yet as Reardon emphasizes early on, fidelity to facts was never the point. The same dinner with friends could appear over and over in Fisher's published work, rejiggered each time to make a different point. — Laura Shapiro, New York Times Book Review, 12 Dec. 2004 It is a world familiar to all children, and it is this fidelity to child life that gives resonance to Hoffmann's tale and makes it an extraordinary work of art. — Maurice Sendak, Caldecott & Co., 1988 Chaucer's patient Griselda proved her fidelity to her husband by resisting the prodigious reasons he gave her for being unfaithful. — B. F. Skinner, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, 1971 music with much higher fidelity than on cassettes they have never wavered in their fidelity to the cause of freedom
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Recent Examples on the Web

Outside, under a resplendent blue sky with the rolling hills of Palos Verdes in the distance, media was invited to crawl into a low-fidelity mockup of the crew Dragon spacecraft. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "SpaceX reveals the controls of its Dragon spacecraft for the first time," 14 Aug. 2018 Sonic fidelity is a big part of Neil Young Archives, but the rest of the site is created with similar attention to, and passion for, quality. Randy Lewis,, "Neil Young fights for quality streaming with career-spanning online archive," 14 Feb. 2018 Connections dropped all the time and the fidelity was barely passable. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "Why Your Bluetooth Headphones Don’t Work Right," 5 Dec. 2017 Only the phrasing is swapped around, not dissimilar to the variations seen in the fidelity tests that were performed on the James Delos host clone. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Westworld Spoilers Club season 2, episode 9: Vanishing Point," 18 June 2018 But Boedecker faces charges stemming from an argument with her husband about his fidelity, according to authorities: third-degree domestic assault, armed criminal action and first-degree property damage. Glenn E. Rice, kansascity, "Grandma turns playhouse into memorial for granddaughters found dead in Clay County," 6 July 2018 Fido, the dog under the table, is a symbol of faith and fidelity as well as a beloved family pet. Victoria Dalkey, sacbee, "Crocker showcases diversity of Eduardo Carrillo's work, from realism to myth and fantasy," 6 July 2018 The dynamic dash display being accessible by steering wheel controls and high-fidelity voice commands means the touchscreen doesn’t need much touching. Robert Duffer,, "2018 Chevrolet Traverse offers up minivan function in SUV form," 25 Oct. 2017 Everyone understands the importance of building patiently through the draft, but there's a point at which fidelity to that model becomes a disadvantage. Andrew Sharp,, "Trusting the Lakers' Process in NBA Free Agency," 26 June 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for fidelity

Middle English fidelite, borrowed from Middle French fidelité, borrowed from Latin fidēlitāt-, fidēlitās, from fidēlis "faithful, loyal, trustworthy" (from fidē-, stem of fidēs "trust, belief, faith" +-lis, denominal suffix of appurtenance) + -itāt-, -itās -ity

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Statistics for fidelity

Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for fidelity

The first known use of fidelity was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for fidelity



English Language Learners Definition of fidelity

: the quality of being faithful to your husband, wife, or sexual partner

: the quality of being faithful or loyal to a country, organization, etc.

: the degree to which something matches or copies something else


fi·​del·​i·​ty | \fə-ˈde-lə-tē, fī-\

Kids Definition of fidelity

1 : loyalty They swore fidelity to the king.

2 : accuracy I described the scene with fidelity.


fi·​del·​i·​ty | \fə-ˈde-lə-tē, fī- \

Legal Definition of fidelity 

: the quality or state of being faithful or loyal especially : loyalty to one's spouse in refraining from adultery and sometimes in submitting to a spouse's reasonable sexual desires

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More from Merriam-Webster on fidelity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fidelity

Spanish Central: Translation of fidelity

Nglish: Translation of fidelity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fidelity for Arabic Speakers

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