c.1400, from Anglo-Fr. legaunce "loyalty of a liege-man to his lord," from O.Fr. legeance, from liege (see liege); erroneously associated with L. ligare "to bind;" corrupted in spelling by confusion with the now-obsolete legal term allegeance "alleviation." General figurative
sense of "recognition of claims to respect or duty" is attested from 1732.