|1.||(in feudal society) a man who entered into a personal relationship with a lord to whom he paid homage and fealty in return for protection and often a fief. A great vassal was in vassalage to a king and a rear vassal to a great vassal|
|2.||a. a person, nation, etc, in a subordinate, suppliant, or dependent position relative to another|
|b. (as modifier): vassal status|
|3.||of or relating to a vassal|
|[C14: via Old French from Medieval Latin vassallus, from vassus servant, of Celtic origin; compare Welsh gwas boy, Old Irish foss servant]|
Under feudalism, a subordinate who placed himself in service to a lord in return for the lord's protection.