fief·​dom ˈfēf-dəm How to pronounce fiefdom (audio)
plural fiefdoms
: an area over which someone exercises control as or in the manner of a feudal lord
The Seigneur could not sell his fiefdom without approval from the Queen.Timothy Foote
… he encouraged the notion that the company was an extension of himself, and certainly it had been argued over the years that in his spending habits he treated it as his personal fiefdom.Connie Bruck
These men began to run Brazil as their personal fiefdom.Sue Branford
… corruption and nepotism are as rife as ever, with regional party leaders running their local fiefdoms like mafia godfathers.Michael A. Hall

Examples of fiefdom in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Every effort by central banks to stimulate the economy goes largely to the cloud fiefdoms described in his book, as economic activity is sucked out of marketplaces into the trading platforms of the cloud. Nick Lichtenberg, Fortune Europe, 11 Feb. 2024 As his mother’s cocaine fiefdom racked in around $2.6 million a day at its height, Blanco soaked up the luxury lifestyle. Kalia Richardson, Rolling Stone, 10 Feb. 2024 Those fiefdoms exclude most of Imperial’s 180,000 residents. Janet Wilson, ProPublica, 9 Nov. 2023 William DiBella, the powerful Democrat who has run the capital region’s water and sewer authority like a fiefdom for more than two decades is giving up the chairmanship. Edmund H. Mahony, Hartford Courant, 8 Jan. 2024 The Three Brotherhood Alliance is a case in point — comprising a bloc of armies that haven’t necessarily allied with the NUG and have long consolidated their own fiefdoms, some built on criminal operations. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 7 Dec. 2023 When the warriors of Hamas broke out of their fiefdom in Gaza to kill and kidnap Israelis, a historic failure of imagination came painfully into view. Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh, WSJ, 13 Oct. 2023 His great-great-uncle Leopold II had overseen what was then called the Congo Free State as his personal fiefdom—and established a system of exploitation that was monstrous even by colonial standards. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 30 Oct. 2023 Before, Warner’s siloed divisions were often described as warring fiefdoms. Alicia Adamczyk, Fortune, 13 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1814, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fiefdom was in 1814

Dictionary Entries Near fiefdom

Cite this Entry

“Fiefdom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

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