feudalism

noun
feu·​dal·​ism | \ ˈfyü-də-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce feudalism (audio) \

Definition of feudalism

1 : the system of political organization prevailing in Europe from the 9th to about the 15th centuries having as its basis the relation of lord to vassal (see vassal sense 1) with all land held in fee (see fee sense 1) and as chief characteristics homage, the service of tenants under arms and in court, wardship (see wardship sense 1), and forfeiture (see forfeiture sense 1)
2 : any of various political or social systems similar to medieval feudalism

Other Words from feudalism

feudalist \ ˈfyü-​də-​list How to pronounce feudalism (audio) \ noun
feudalistic \ ˌfyü-​də-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce feudalism (audio) \ adjective

Examples of feudalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The term—a modern-day twist on a phrase Communist revolutionaries used to refer to the evils of imperialism, feudalism and crony capitalism—has been invoked for years in China to describe the costs associated with housing, education and healthcare. Jonathan Cheng, WSJ, 3 Feb. 2022 For its part, Kering gets first look at a new crop of talent without the whiff of feudalism attached to a prize, as well as a bird’s-eye view on new ways of selling and communicating without any risk to its more boldface brands. New York Times, 16 Dec. 2021 Still later, as feudalism declined, the Catholic Church encouraged and enforced imprisonment for unpaid debts. Kristin Collier, Longreads, 1 Dec. 2021 The museum charts South Korea’s rise out of feudalism and colonialism into the democratic present. E. Tammy Kim, The New York Review of Books, 17 Dec. 2020 The setting is little more than an opportunity for Cannon, who wrote the Pitch Perfect movies and directed the uproariously sweet Blockers, to dole out easy criticisms of feudalism in the name of female agency. David Sims, The Atlantic, 1 Sep. 2021 People in the 21st century typically see feudalism as a bad thing and more importantly, something from the distant past. Roger Valdez, Forbes, 8 June 2021 After the Black Death came the erosion of feudalism. Jake Coyle, Star Tribune, 28 May 2021 Throughout many of his articles, Kotkin has laid out policy ideas that might ward off feudalism. John Loftus, National Review, 18 Oct. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of feudalism

1773, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About feudalism

Time Traveler for feudalism

Time Traveler

The first known use of feudalism was in 1773

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near feudalism

feudal

feudalism

feudality

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for feudalism

Cite this Entry

“Feudalism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feudalism. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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

More Definitions for feudalism

feudalism

noun
feu·​dal·​ism | \ ˈfyü-də-ˌliz-əm How to pronounce feudalism (audio) \

Kids Definition of feudalism

: a social system existing in medieval Europe in which people worked and fought for nobles who gave them protection and land in return

More from Merriam-Webster on feudalism

Nglish: Translation of feudalism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of feudalism for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about feudalism

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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