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Definition of "feudalism" []

  • A political and economic system of Europe from the 9th to about the 15th century, based on the holding of all land in fief or fee and the resulting relation of lord to vassal and characterized by homage, legal and military service of tenants, and forfeiture. (noun)
  • A political, economic, or social order resembling this medieval system. (noun)
  • The legal and social system that evolved in W Europe in the 8th and 9th centuries, in which vassals were protected and maintained by their lords, usually through the granting of fiefs, and were required to serve under them in war (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • Any social system or society, such as medieval Japan or Ptolemaic Egypt, that resembles medieval European feudalism (noun)

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Use "feudalism" in a sentence
  • "And when at a later period civil society was gradually organising itself on that hierarchical model which we know as feudalism, the Church, in the persons of its officers, was tending to become not so much the counterpart of the State as an integral part of it."
  • "America has no roots in feudalism, no notion of inherited orders of society, no instinct for deference or regard for nobility."
  • "Put more precisely — for the word feudalism has been used to describe many different forms of social relations — this transition was one from what the French call a 'société d'ordres' and the Germans a 'Standegesellschaft' to the kind of society that became the predominant type in Europe in the nineteenth century and is usually described as capitalist or bourgeois."