fi·​del·​i·​ty | \ fə-ˈde-lə-tē How to pronounce fidelity (audio) , fī- \
plural fidelities

Essential Meaning of fidelity

1 : the quality of being faithful to your husband, wife, or sexual partner She began to doubt her husband's fidelity. [=to wonder if he was having an affair with another woman] sexual fidelity
2 : the quality of being faithful or loyal to a country, organization, etc.
3 : the degree to which something matches or copies something else

Full Definition of fidelity

1a : the quality or state of being faithful his fidelity to his wife
b : accuracy in details : exactness The movie's director insisted on total fidelity to the book.
2 : the degree to which an electronic device (such as a record player, radio, or television) accurately reproduces its effect (such as sound or picture)

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Choose the Right Synonym for fidelity

fidelity, allegiance, fealty, loyalty, devotion, piety mean faithfulness to something to which one is bound by pledge or duty. fidelity implies strict and continuing faithfulness to an obligation, trust, or duty. marital fidelity allegiance suggests an adherence like that of citizens to their country. pledging allegiance fealty implies a fidelity acknowledged by the individual and as compelling as a sworn vow. fealty to the truth loyalty implies a faithfulness that is steadfast in the face of any temptation to renounce, desert, or betray. valued the loyalty of his friends devotion stresses zeal and service amounting to self-dedication. a painter's devotion to her art piety stresses fidelity to obligations regarded as natural and fundamental. filial piety

Have a Little Faith in Fidelity

You can have faith in "fidelity," which has existed in English since the 15th century; its etymological path winds back through Middle English and Middle French, eventually arriving at the Latin verb fidere, meaning "to trust." "Fidere" is also an ancestor of other English words associated with trust or faith, such as "fiduciary" (which means "of, relating to, or involving a confidence or trust" and is often used in the context of a monetary trust) and "confide" (meaning "to trust" or "to show trust by imparting secrets"). Nowadays "fidelity" is often used in reference to recording and broadcast devices, conveying the idea that a broadcast or recording is "faithful" to the live sound or picture that it reproduces.

Examples of fidelity in a Sentence

Yet as Reardon emphasizes early on, fidelity to facts was never the point. The same dinner with friends could appear over and over in Fisher's published work, rejiggered each time to make a different point. — Laura Shapiro, New York Times Book Review, 12 Dec. 2004 It is a world familiar to all children, and it is this fidelity to child life that gives resonance to Hoffmann's tale and makes it an extraordinary work of art. — Maurice Sendak, Caldecott & Co., 1988 Chaucer's patient Griselda proved her fidelity to her husband by resisting the prodigious reasons he gave her for being unfaithful. — B. F. Skinner, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, 1971 music with much higher fidelity than on cassettes they have never wavered in their fidelity to the cause of freedom
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Recent Examples on the Web In his own thrillers, Bill portrays the president as a ruggedly handsome former soldier known for his bravery and marital fidelity. Washington Post, 12 Oct. 2021 Few smartwatches offer the fidelity and features that the Apple Watch Series 6 does. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 29 Sep. 2021 American success requires nurturing personal responsibility and civic virtue; fidelity to nonstate action, positive law, and close-to-home governing; and respect for an array of cultures and traditions. Andy Smarick, National Review, 24 Sep. 2021 The outcome has muddied the legal fight over the law, by far the most restrictive in the nation, and has raised questions about the court’s fidelity to its landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 22 Sep. 2021 In 2021, there is nothing more unsettling than low fidelity. Luke Winkie, Vulture, 3 Aug. 2021 At this higher resolution, your games display every detail at maximum fidelity. Hunter Fenollol, Popular Mechanics, 23 July 2021 Apparently the sins of the father, in that realm if not in marital fidelity, were not visited upon the second son. David M. Shribman, WSJ, 16 July 2021 But the sample fidelity can shift between the launch and the recovery. William Harwood, CBS News, 25 May 2021

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

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First Known Use of fidelity

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for fidelity

Middle English fidelite, borrowed from Middle French fidelité, borrowed from Latin fidēlitāt-, fidēlitās, from fidēlis "faithful, loyal, trustworthy" (from fidē-, stem of fidēs "trust, belief, faith" + -lis, denominal suffix of appurtenance) + -itāt-, -itās -ity

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Time Traveler for fidelity

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

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Last Updated

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fidelity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for fidelity


fi·​del·​i·​ty | \ fə-ˈde-lə-tē How to pronounce fidelity (audio) , fī- \

Kids Definition of fidelity

1 : loyalty They swore fidelity to the king.
2 : accuracy I described the scene with fidelity.


fi·​del·​i·​ty | \ fə-ˈde-lə-tē, fī- How to pronounce fidelity (audio) \

Legal Definition of fidelity

: the quality or state of being faithful or loyal especially : loyalty to one's spouse in refraining from adultery and sometimes in submitting to a spouse's reasonable sexual desires

More from Merriam-Webster on fidelity

Nglish: Translation of fidelity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fidelity for Arabic Speakers


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