Definitions

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

  • n. Loyalty or the obligation of loyalty, as to a nation, sovereign, or cause. See Synonyms at fidelity.
  • n. The obligations of a vassal to a lord.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Loyalty to some cause, nation or ruler.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The tie or obligation, implied or expressed, which a subject owes to his sovereign or government; the duty of fidelity to one's king, government, or state.
  • n. Devotion; loyalty.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The tie or obligation of a subject or citizen to his sovereign or government; the duty of fidelity to a king, government, or state.
  • n. Hence Observance of obligation in general; fidelity to any person or thing; devotion.
  • n. Synonyms Allegiance, Loyalty, Fealty. Allegiance is the most formal and official of these words; it is a matter of principle, and applies especially to conduct; the oath of allegiance covers conduct only.
  • n. Loyalty is a matter of both principle and sentiment, conduct and feeling; it implies enthusiasm and devotion, and hence is most frequently chosen for figurative uses: as, loyalty to a lover, husband, family, clan, friends, old traditions, religion. Neither allegiance nor loyalty is confined to its original meaning of the obligation due from a subject to a prince.
  • n. Fealty has escaped less completely from this earliest sense, but has a permissible use in the sense of fidelity under obligation of various kinds.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the act of binding yourself (intellectually or emotionally) to a course of action
  • n. the loyalty that citizens owe to their country (or subjects to their sovereign)

Etymologies

Middle English alligeaunce, alteration of ligeaunce, from Old French ligeance, from lige, liege; see liege.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English aliegiaunce, from Anglo-Norman legaunce ("loyalty of a liege-servant to one's lord"), from Old French legeance, from Old French lege, liege ("liege, servant"), of Germanic origin. More at liege. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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