World English Dictionary
vassal (ˈvæsəl)
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]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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