feudalism

[fyood-l-iz-uhm]
noun
the feudal system, or its principles and practices.

Origin:
1830–40; feudal1 + -ism

feudalist, noun
feudalistic, adjective
antifeudalism, noun
antifeudalist, noun
antifeudalistic, adjective
prefeudalism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
feudalism (ˈfjuːdəˌlɪzəm)
 
n
1.  vassalage See also fief Also called: feudal system 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
2.  any social system or society, such as medieval Japan or Ptolemaic Egypt, that resembles medieval European feudalism
 
'feudalist
 
n
 
feudal'istic
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

feudalism
a coinage of historians, first attested 1839; see feudal.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
feudalism [(fyoohd-l-iz-uhm)]

A system of obligations that bound lords and their subjects in Europe during much of the Middle Ages. In theory, the king owned all or most of the land and gave it to his leading nobles in return for their loyalty and military service. The nobles in turn held land that peasants, including serfs, were allowed to farm in return for the peasants' labor and a portion of their produce. Under feudalism, people were born with a permanent position in society. (See fief and vassal.)

Note: Today, the word feudal is sometimes used as a general term for a set of social relationships that seems unprogressive or out of step with modern society.
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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Example sentences
Tens of millions of people remain stuck in a sink of feudalism, repression and
  hunger.
Also there is perhaps a sense that the world has moved on from feudalism.
Neither can intolerance, feudalism, terrorism and economic malaise.
The remnants mutate, lapse into feudalism, or revert to prehistoric brutality.
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