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)

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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 But fidelity to Trump is, at minimum, complicating Republican efforts to win back the Senate. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "The GOP Is Imploding in Spectacular Fashion," 22 Feb. 2021 The state, which had charged them with ungratefulness in protest, is now seeking ways to reject the group’s fidelity to the foundation of democracy. Theodore R. Johnson, New York Times, "The Challenge of Black Patriotism," 18 Nov. 2020 The fidelity is primitive by today’s high-definition audio standards, a quaint toss-away. Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times, "Meet the guardians of the world’s earliest musical recordings," 12 Nov. 2020 The members of this body, bound by oath, owe it the same fidelity in this case and all others. Kerry Picket, Washington Examiner, "Chip Roy objects to seating House members who plan to fight Biden's White House win," 3 Jan. 2021 Judge Barrett is the ideal candidate for the court: an incredibly gifted legal mind with superb qualifications, an inspiring personal narrative, and a strong fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | TIM GRIFFIN: Return respect to nomination process," 4 Oct. 2020 She was torn between fidelity to the unknown and reaching to create a portrait worthy of the soldier’s life, worthy of a museum pedestal. Washington Post, "How a forensic artist attempted to re-create the face of a Black Civil War soldier," 28 Dec. 2020 Mastering it, Niekro would tell aspirants, requires complete fidelity. New York Times, "Saying Goodbye to the Knuckleball, and Its Master," 28 Dec. 2020 Turner’s personal life played out with a fidelity to her onscreen personae that is nothing short of eerie. Michael Washburn, National Review, "Lana Turner at 100," 3 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for fidelity

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fidelity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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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 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

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