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[feef] /fif/
a fee or feud held of a feudal lord; a tenure of land subject to feudal obligations.
a territory held in fee.
1605-15; < French, variant of Old French fieu, fie, cognate with Anglo-French fe fee < Germanic; compare Old High German fihu, Old English feoh cattle, property; akin to Latin pecū flock of sheep, pecus cattle, pecūnia wealth Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fiefs
  • He needed to subdue the last of the independent fiefs.
  • The government-financed universities have always enjoyed near-total autonomy, and some have become political fiefs.
  • At first some gave way to big characters who treated their businesses as fiefs.
  • Regional barons both ruled their own fiefs and held great sway at court.
  • But now the system entrenches fiefs, and makes it harder to take tough decisions rapidly.
  • Powerful princes control rival administrative fiefs.
  • Left to their own virtual devices, they would tend to focus on their own fiefs.
  • Opium chiefs expanded their fiefs and corrupted the soldiers sent to close them down.
  • Heads had to roll in local fiefs, often after bitter battles.
  • In part, they can run their fiefs as they please because they are founder-owners.
British Dictionary definitions for fiefs


(in feudal Europe) the property or fee granted to a vassal for his maintenance by his lord in return for service
Word Origin
C17: from Old French fie, of Germanic origin; compare Old English fēo cattle, money, Latin pecus cattle, pecūnia money, Greek pokos fleece
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for fiefs



also feoff, 1610s, from French fief (12c.) "possession, holding, domain," a variant of Old French fieu "fee" (see fee).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fiefs in Culture
fief [(feef)]

Under feudalism, a landed estate given by a lord to a vassal in return for the vassal's service to the lord. The vassal could use the fief as long as he remained loyal to the lord.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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