fi·​del·​i·​ty | \ fə-ˈde-lə-tē How to pronounce fidelity (audio) , 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)

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
Recent Examples on the Web First came her stubborn fidelity to figuration in times favoring abstraction, and then her eschewal of Pop and postmodernist irony—as opposed to humor, a wellspring of her creativity. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 28 Feb. 2022 The next day, a ceremony is held in Saint Peter’s Square in which the pope presents each of the new cardinals with a golden ring to symbolize their fidelity to the church. CNN, 20 Jan. 2022 Neal Barrett’s suite of Mission Furniture stands out for both its sympathetic interpretation of that style but also its fidelity to it. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, 11 Jan. 2022 While declaring his fidelity to the Catholic faith, Erasmus came to Luther’s defense. Joseph Loconte, WSJ, 9 Dec. 2021 It’s in part because of his marvelous hall that these performances suffered not a single acoustic blur but instead came across in perfect fidelity. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, 15 Apr. 2022 Shot documentary-style, this film features interviews with Carmichael’s mother, father, siblings, uncles, nieces/nephews, and cousins spanning topics from faith, fidelity, womanhood, manhood, happiness, obligation, and self-awareness, among others. Essence, 2 Feb. 2022 Reality and fidelity to history is not the point; distraction and attachment to your credit card is. Michael Goldstein, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 New products like the RTX 3000-series promised performance jumps over previous generations, just as next-generation game consoles were driving new advancements in game engines and graphical fidelity. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, 7 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fidelity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for fidelity


fi·​del·​i·​ty | \ fə-ˈde-lə-tē How to pronounce fidelity (audio) , 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- How to pronounce fidelity (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on fidelity

Nglish: Translation of fidelity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fidelity for Arabic Speakers


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