1 a : the fidelity of a vassal or feudal tenant to his lord
b : the obligation of such fidelity
2 : intense fidelity
Did You Know?
In The Use of Law, published posthumously in 1629, Francis Bacon wrote, "Fealty is to take an oath upon a book, that he will be a faithful Tenant to the King." That's a pretty accurate summary of the early meaning of fealty. Early forms of the term were used in Middle English around 1300, when they specifically designated the loyalty of a vassal to a lord. Eventually, the meaning of the word broadened. Fealty can be paid to a country, a principle, or a leader of any kind—though the synonyms fidelity and loyalty are more commonly used. Fealty comes from the Anglo-French word feelté, or fealté, which comes from the Latin fidelitas, meaning "fidelity." These words are ultimately derived from fides, the Latin word for "faith."
"Ordinary English soccer fans dispatched the Super League with a populist putsch even before it had scheduled its first game. Those fans went into the streets, demonstrating loudly and insisting they would abandon teams to which they had professed lifelong fealty." — Kevin Cullen, The Boston Globe, 22 Apr. 2021
"Bathed in a laid-back marinade and wrapped in a cloak of smoke, the Niman Ranch Prime skirt steaks are cooked meticulously medium-rare, in the house style—a small miracle in itself, and one of the reasons for my fealty. — Alison Cook, The Houston Chronicle, 5 May 2021
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of fealty: CLGNEEIALA.VIEW THE ANSWER
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