from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun 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.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The feudal system and its incidents; the system of holding lands by military service.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The feudal system; a system by which the holding of estates in land is made dependent upon an obligation to render military service to the king or feudal superior; feudal principles and usages.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A social system based on personal ownership of resources and personal fealty between a suzerain (lord) and a vassal (subject). Defining characteristics are direct ownership of resources, personal loyalty, and a hierarchical social structure reinforced by religion.

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

  • noun the social system that developed in Europe in the 8th century; vassals were protected by lords who they had to serve in war


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From feudal +‎ -ism.


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  • 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.

    The Church and the Empire, Being an Outline of the History of the Church from A.D. 1003 to A.D. 1304 1907

  • America has no roots in feudalism, no notion of inherited orders of society, no instinct for deference or regard for nobility.

    Rags to Rags, Riches to Riches 2007

  • America has no roots in feudalism, no notion of inherited orders of society, no instinct for deference or regard for nobility.

    Rags to Rags, Riches to Riches 2007

  • 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.

    The End of Servility Behrens, C.B.A. 1979

  • The pressures of Muslim, Magyar, and Viking invasions, combined with the civil wars among Charlemagne's descendants who could do little to halt those invasions, accelerated the disintegration of the Carolingian Empire and hastened the development of what modern students call feudalism and manorialism.

    c. 787-925 2001

  • China's first real social crisis after the collapse of feudalism, that is to say, after the fourth or third century B.C., began only in the present century with the collapse of the social order of the gentry and the breakdown of the family system.

    A History of China Wolfram Eberhard 1949

  • However this organization might outwardly resemble what we are accustomed to call feudalism, its structure was rather like that of ancient Egyptian or Peruvian society, -- minus the priestly hierarchy.

    Japan: an Attempt at Interpretation Lafcadio Hearn 1877

  • -- His leading object is the suppression of feudalism, that is to say, of the great families and old historic authorities.

    The Modern Regime, Volume 1 Hippolyte Taine 1860

  • Regarded as a relic of that great institution know as feudalism, M. d'Espard deserved respectful admiration.

    The Commission in Lunacy Honor�� de Balzac 1824

  • This would seem to imply a move toward feudalism, which is probably one likely outcome. Main RSS Feed 2009


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  • "A political and economic system under which land was granted by a landowner to a person in exchange for military service or other duties."

    August 25, 2008