vassal

play
noun vas·sal \ˈva-səl\

Definition of vassal

  1. 1 :  a person under the protection of a feudal lord to whom he has vowed homage and fealty :  a feudal tenant

  2. 2 :  one in a subservient or subordinate position

vassal

adjective

Origin and Etymology of vassal

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Medieval Latin vassallus “serf of the manor house, household servant, lord's man who has received a fief,“ borrowed from Gaulish *wassall-, derivative of *wass- “servant” (whence Medieval Latin vassus “serf, servant, holder of a fief”), going back to Celtic *wosto-, whence Welsh gwas “boy, servant,” Middle Breton goas, Old Irish foss “servant, attendant” Celtic *wasto- is generally taken to continue Indo-European *upo-sth2-o- “one who stands under,” which may be correct if Gaulish *wass- shares with British Celtic unrounding of o in this position.


First Known Use: 14th century


VASSAL Defined for English Language Learners

vassal

play
noun vas·sal \ˈva-səl\

Definition of vassal for English Language Learners

  • : a person in the past who received protection and land from a lord in return for loyalty and service


VASSAL Defined for Kids

vassal

play
noun vas·sal \ˈva-səl\

Definition of vassal for Students

  1. :  a person in the Middle Ages who received protection and land from a lord in return for loyalty and service



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