vas·​sal·​age ˈva-sə-lij How to pronounce vassalage (audio)
: a position of subordination or submission (as to a political power)
: the state of being a vassal
: the homage, fealty, or services due from a vassal

Examples of vassalage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Russia is now locking itself into vassalage to China. Alexander Gabuev, Foreign Affairs, 9 Apr. 2024 America’s social contract was that liberty and self-determination was a more powerful engine of human freedom than vassalage and the divine right of kings. TIME, 9 Jan. 2024 Ukrainians want a decent, self-governing society, rather than a vassalage of a tyrannical nation that, while sharing much with them, has never respected them. David Harsanyi, National Review, 14 Sep. 2023 What’s more, Johnson has insisted that during 2020, the United Kingdom will also negotiate a trade agreement with the United States to prove that the British have escaped European vassalage. David Reynolds, Foreign Affairs, 8 May 2020 With the vassalage of American executives, woke-corporate cancel culture will become more obnoxious than ever before. Robert H. Bork Jr., National Review, 14 July 2021 Favereau writes: The Russian principalities experienced extraordinary economic vitality during their vassalage to the Horde. Colin Thubron, The New York Review of Books, 6 July 2021 Trump is trying to use his vertical of vassalage to thwart the electoral system. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, 5 Nov. 2020 Those favoring Brexit blasted Mrs. May’s deal as a form of vassalage that would prevent Britain from striking its own trade deals with the rest of the world. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, 31 July 2019

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

Word History


Middle English, "knightly prowess, state of a vassal," borrowed from Anglo-French, "courage, exploit" from vassal "worthy man, vassal" + -age -age

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of vassalage was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near vassalage

Cite this Entry

“Vassalage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

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