vas·​sal·​age | \ ˈva-sə-lij How to pronounce vassalage (audio) \

Definition of vassalage

1 : a position of subordination or submission (as to a political power)
2 : the state of being a vassal
3 : the homage, fealty, or services due from a vassal

Examples of vassalage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web 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 In transition Britain will be in a form of vassalage, obliged to apply all EU laws and regulations with no say in making them. The Economist, 5 Dec. 2019 Yet though neither party seems likely to revert to the Republicans’ former state of corporate vassalage, a sweeping corporate retreat is unlikelier still. The Economist, 29 Aug. 2019 The Qataris, in turn, argue that the Saudis want nothing short of Doha's vassalage. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 7 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vassalage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of vassalage

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vassalage

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About vassalage

Time Traveler for vassalage

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near vassalage




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for vassalage

Last Updated

19 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vassalage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!