noun fi·del·i·ty \fə-ˈde-lə-tē, fī-\

Definition of fidelity



  1. 1a :  the quality or state of being faithful his fidelity to his wifeb :  accuracy in details :  exactness The movie's director insisted on total fidelity to the book.

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

Examples of fidelity in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. music with much higher fidelity than on cassettes

  5. they have never wavered in their fidelity to the cause of freedom

Did You Know?

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.

Origin and Etymology of fidelity

Middle English fidelite, from Medieval French & Latin; Medieval French fidelité, from Latin fidelitat-, fidelitas, from fidelis faithful, from fides faith, from fidere to trust — more at bide

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of 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.

Other Audio Recording Terms

FIDELITY Defined for English Language Learners


noun fi·del·i·ty \fə-ˈde-lə-tē, fī-\

Definition of fidelity for English Language Learners

  • : 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

FIDELITY Defined for Kids


noun fi·del·i·ty \fə-ˈde-lə-tē, fī-\

Definition of fidelity for Students

  1. 1 :  loyalty They swore fidelity to the king.

  2. 2 :  accuracy I described the scene with fidelity.

Word Root of fidelity

The Latin word fidēs, meaning “faith,” gives us the root fid. Words from the Latin fidēs have something to with being faithful. Fidelity is faith or loyalty. To confide in someone is to show trust in the person by telling her or him a secret. Someone who is confident has faith that he or she will do something correctly and successfully.

Law Dictionary


noun fi·del·i·ty \fə-ˈde-lə-tē, fī-\

Legal Definition of fidelity

  1. :  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

Seen and Heard

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capable of being understood in two ways

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