Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A feudal tenant who ranked directly below a baron or peer.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Alternative spelling of vavasour.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The vassal or tenant of a baron; one who held under a baron, and who also had tenants under him; one in dignity next to a baron; a title of dignity next to a baron.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In feudal law, a principal vassal not holding immediately of the sovereign, but of a great lord, and having other vassals holding of him; a vassal of the second degree or rank.

Etymologies

Middle English vavasour, from Old French, from Medieval Latin vavassor, possibly contraction of vassus vassōrum, vassal of vassals : vassus, vassal (from Vulgar Latin *vassus; see vassal) + vassōrum, genitive pl. of vassus, vassal.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The middle thane was feudal, but not honorary; he was also called a vavasor, and his lands a vavasory, which held of some mesne lord, and not immediately of the King.

    The Commonwealth of Oceana

  • The vavasor then without delay had saddled a bay palfrey.

    Four Arthurian Romances

  • Upon this gong the vavasor struck three times with a hammer which hung on a post close by.

    Four Arthurian Romances

  • After the supper the vavasor admitted to me that, though he had lodged many an errant knight, he knew not how long it had been since he had welcomed one in search of adventure.

    Four Arthurian Romances

  • When he turned through the gate into the yard, the vavasor ran to meet him, and saluted him before Erec had said

    Four Arthurian Romances

  • The vavasor had only one man-servant, and no maid for chamber or kitchen work.

    Four Arthurian Romances

  • Then, very joyful, he passed on a little farther until he saw reclining upon some steps a vavasor [17] well on in years.

    Four Arthurian Romances

  • Some took my horse which the good vavasor was holding; and I saw coming toward me a very fair and gentle maid.

    Four Arthurian Romances

  • The most rejoiced for the sake of the damsel with the white raiment, the daughter of the poor vavasor she of the gentle and open heart; but his damsel and those who were devoted to him were sorry for Yder.

    Four Arthurian Romances

  • Ladies and knights were gathered there, and the vavasor was glad at heart.

    Four Arthurian Romances

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Comments

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  • Ditto here. It sounds a bit rude, though, doesn't it?

    October 8, 2009

  • I came across it accidentally, when I was looking up "Valvasor" (a Slovene 17th-century polymath). It was new to me, too.

    October 8, 2009

  • Well, there's a good reason for that: I've never heard it before. :)

    October 7, 2009

  • I'm surprised to see that a certain history-minded bear hasn't listed this word (or vavasory) yet.

    October 7, 2009