follow Dictionary.com

Hone in vs. home in? What's the difference?

vassal

[vas-uh l] /ˈvæs əl/
noun
1.
(in the feudal system) a person granted the use of land, in return for rendering homage, fealty, and usually military service or its equivalent to a lord or other superior; feudal tenant.
2.
a person holding some similar relation to a superior; a subject, subordinate, follower, or retainer.
3.
a servant or slave.
adjective
4.
of, relating to, or characteristic of a vassal.
5.
having the status or position of a vassal.
Origin of vassal
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English < Middle French < Medieval Latin vassallus, equivalent to vass(us) servant (< Celtic; compare Welsh gwas young man, Irish foss servant) + -allus noun suffix
Related forms
vassalless, adjective
nonvassal, noun
subvassal, noun
undervassal, noun
Can be confused
vassal, vessel.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for vassal
Historical Examples
  • His first step was to recall Regingar of Lothringia, who was oppressed by France, to his allegiance as vassal of the empire.

  • She had, indeed, given up her position as queen of the less to be vassal of the greater.

    A Pair of Blue Eyes Thomas Hardy
  • He was forced to become the vassal of the king of Babylonia, and furnish a contingent to his army.

  • King Gunther receives the fair Recken into his service as a vassal.

    Legends of the Rhine Wilhelm Ruland
  • Each of these vassal nobles was to be bound, when required, to furnish a military contingent to their liege lord the king.

    Henry IV, Makers of History John S. C. Abbott
  • The second is a king who was a vassal of Tiglath-Pilezer, king of Assyria.

  • The vassal is protected by the accessibility of formularized law.

    Mornings in Florence John Ruskin
  • Highness—tell me, your Highness, a vassal doesn't amount to much, does he?

    The Ghost Breaker Paul Dickey
  • The girl swiftly crossed the ford and bowed her golden head in a vassal's welcome to the young lord.

    Historic Boys Elbridge Streeter Brooks
  • I'll round up this spook tonight for good, and then the vassal's task is done.

    The Ghost Breaker Paul Dickey
British Dictionary definitions for vassal

vassal

/ˈvæsəl/
noun
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.
  1. a person, nation, etc, in a subordinate, suppliant, or dependent position relative to another
  2. (as modifier): vassal status
adjective
3.
of or relating to a vassal
Derived Forms
vassal-less, adjective
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Medieval Latin vassallus, from vassus servant, of Celtic origin; compare Welsh gwas boy, Old Irish foss servant
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for vassal
n.

mid-15c. (c.1200 as a surname) "tenant who pledges fealty to a lord," from Old French vassal, from Medieval Latin vassallus "manservant, domestic, retainer," from vassus "servant," from Old Celtic *wasso- "young man, squire" (cf. Welsh gwas "youth, servant," Breton goaz "servant, vassal, man," Irish foss "servant"). The adjective is recorded from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
vassal in Culture

vassal definition


Under feudalism, a subordinate who placed himself in service to a lord in return for the lord's protection.

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

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for vassal

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for vassal

9
11
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for vassal