Definition of fealty in English:



  • 1A feudal tenant's or vassal's sworn loyalty to a lord.

    ‘they owed fealty to the Earl rather than the King’
    • ‘The Anglo-Saxons used oaths not only to swear fealty to feudal lords, but also to ensure honesty during legal proceedings and transactions.’
    • ‘Nearly helpless, Harold was forced to swear an oath of fealty to William and to swear further that he would advocate William's cause in England.’
    • ‘By that I mean a vassal/lord relationship in which the former swears fealty to the latter in return for control of the lands which he owns.’
    • ‘The Crusaders would remain for one year in the East to assist the new Emperor; any who remained thereafter would have to take an oath of fealty to him.’
    • ‘No, what's important is your unswerving fealty to the Lord.’
    1. 1.1Formal acknowledgment of this.
      ‘a property for which she did fealty’
      • ‘Llwelyn was forced into a humiliating surrender that included relinquishing control over the eastern part of his territory and an acknowledgment of fealty paid to Edward I annually.’
      • ‘The essence of the original feudal system introduced by William I was that tenants of manors or other substantial units of land had obligations to their lords, of which fealty, suit of court, and military service were the most common.’
      • ‘Homage and fealty performed by the great men after the coronation were arguably of greater practical importance than the ceremony itself.’
      • ‘In 920 Edmund had accepted Raegnald's fealty and thus acknowledged his status.’
      • ‘Of all the bonds of feudalism, the greatest and the most important bond was the one of fealty, of loyalty to one's lord.’
      allegiance, faithfulness, fidelity, obedience, fealty, adherence, homage, devotion, bond
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Middle English: from Old French feau(l)te, fealte, from Latin fidelitas (see fidelity).