fief

noun

1
: a feudal estate : fee
2
: something over which one has rights or exercises control
a politician's fief

Did you know?

In European feudalism, a fief was a source of income granted to a person (called a vassal) by his lord in exchange for his services. The fief usually consisted of land and the labor of peasants who were bound to cultivate it. The income it provided supported the vassal, who was obliged to fight for his lord as a knight.

Examples of fief in a Sentence

the logistics of the relief effort is the director's fief
Recent Examples on the Web And feudalism discouraged trade; a feudal estate, or fief, was often a closed community that aimed to be self-sufficient. IEEE Spectrum, 30 May 2012 With a long tradition of one-party rule, a bare-knuckle political culture and an unusual patchwork of governmental fiefs, the state has been a hotbed for corruption that has felled city councilors, mayors, state legislators and members of Congress. Nicholas Fandos, New York Times, 23 Sep. 2023 Nowhere in the country do City Council members preside over fiefs so large: 15 council members represent about 264,900 people each. Leanne Abraham, New York Times, 5 Sep. 2023 Now, in between the store and the cafe sits the clubhouse, Mr. Santis’s personal fief, which has no official name, and is not officially open, and never will be. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, 27 July 2023 All that time, Putin allowed the feud between the two fiefs to fester without much intervention, something analysts correctly predicted to be a ticking bomb. Mary Ilyushina, Anchorage Daily News, 26 June 2023 After brief armed rebellion, mercenary convoy turns back from Moscow All that time, Putin allowed the feud between the two fiefs to fester without much intervention, something analysts correctly predicted to be a ticking bomb. Mary Ilyushina, Washington Post, 25 June 2023 Soccer is not, unlike Formula 1 and golf and professional wrestling, effectively a monopoly, where one omnipotent fief or suite of executives can make decisions for the entire sport. Rory Smith, New York Times, 9 June 2023 For a time, Prigozhin was allowed to berate officials with seeming impunity, which analysts noted fit with Putin’s strategy of splitting political turf and the battlefield in Ukraine into separate fiefs controlled by rival groups so that none grow too powerful. Mary Ilyushina, Anchorage Daily News, 6 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fief.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

French, from Old French — more at fee

First Known Use

circa 1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of fief was circa 1611

Dictionary Entries Near fief

Cite this Entry

“Fief.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fief. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

fief

noun
: a feudal estate

More from Merriam-Webster on fief

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