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 Legitimate change presupposes a much deeper fidelity to enduring truth. Daniel J. Mahoney, National Review, "Pope Francis, Wayward Shepherd," 6 Feb. 2020 The internet’s data load will only get more unwieldy with the expansion of the faster 5G wireless network, higher-fidelity products like 4K and 8K video, cloud gaming, and streamed virtual reality. Kevin Lozano, The New Republic, "Can the Internet Survive Climate Change?," 18 Dec. 2019 But not before Shakespeare can weave in several other comic subplots about love and fidelity and jealousy and all those other human pursuits that appear in so many of his plays. David Lyman,, "Review: ‘Merry Wives’ over-the-top but not all together," 16 Nov. 2019 Echo Studio For years, Amazon’s Echo speakers have offered functional sound quality at best: loud enough to fill the room with Lizzo’s Truth Hurts, but with fidelity that failed to pick up on the finest sonic details. Fortune, "Hands-on With Amazon’s New Gadgets: Echo Studio, Echo Buds, Echo Frames, and Echo Loop," 25 Sep. 2019 Many major religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam and some traditional religions, promote lifestyles emphasizing fidelity and underscoring the importance of caring for one’s family. Jordan W. Moon, Quartz, "Intense prejudice exists against atheists in the US," 28 Dec. 2019 From the gravity of the introduction to the technical brilliance of the finale, this was a Bartok masterwork delivered with communicative urgency and fidelity to the score. Howard Reich,, "Montreal Symphony Orchestra review: Profound Bartok, brilliant Rachmaninoff in Greatest Hits night at Orchestra Hall," 16 Oct. 2019 Tall men tend to have more children, prettier wives and more trust in their fidelity. Grant Segall, cleveland, "Essay: The Long and the Short of It -- Altitutde and Attitude," 3 Jan. 2020 Only as reliable an HIV-prevention method as your partner’s fidelity. Tim Fitzsimons, NBC News, "PrEP's unexpected side effect: reduced 'HIV anxiety'," 15 Dec. 2019

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

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fidelity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for fidelity


How to pronounce fidelity (audio)

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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