Share this entry
feudal Line breaks: feu¦dal
Pronunciation: /ˈfjuːd(ə)l/

Definition of feudal in English:


1According to, resembling, or denoting the system of feudalism: the feudal system
More example sentences
  • After the Norman Conquest the system of feudal landholding required the lord of the manor to provide a court for his tenants.
  • The feudal system meant that knights had to provide the king with soldiers when the king demanded them.
  • The Viking Age ended when many states in Europe developed the feudal system.
1.1Absurdly outdated or old-fashioned: his view of patriotism was more than old-fashioned—it was positively feudal
More example sentences
  • We know it was feudal, backward and deeply conservative, in pressing need of reforms.
  • Why does Lee persist in this feudal and backward way of thinking as soon as he turns to talk about China?
  • The in-laws phoned my husband for months at times when they knew I probably would not be home, and harassed him endlessly with their feudal views of how he should shut up his rebellious wife.


Pronunciation: /fjuːd(ə)lʌɪˈzeɪʃ(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • Most of the key features of Scottish history, such as feudalisation, reformation and industrialisation, happened in other countries as well.
  • Extensive political and economic changes reflected the process of feudalization intrinsic to the Norman system of social administration and land use.
  • The result was the feudalization of government.
Pronunciation: /ˈfjuːd(ə)lʌɪz/
(also feudalise) verb
Example sentences
  • They were not thought of when charters were made and land was feudalised.
  • The south-eastern Highlands were more feudalized, and stood in contrast to what many contemporaries, including James VI, regarded as the real problem area: the Isles (until 1496 a separate lordship) and the western Highland mainland.
  • From the 11th century the Normans colonized and feudalized much of Wales and Romanized the Church, but the native Welsh retained their own laws and tribal organization.
Pronunciation: /ˈfjuːd(ə)li/
Example sentences
  • The ‘historicising’ approach, the aristocratic strangeness of a highly artificial, elaborate, feudally coded language, falls away.
  • Like Thatcher, who learnt this game from traditional Labour, Welsh socialism talked all too easily and feudally about ‘our people’.
  • The fact that feudal tenure commonly served an ostensibly military purpose, that of providing armed men for a lord's host, licensed kings to express their superior lordship by manipulating the descent of feudally held lands.


Early 17th century: from medieval Latin feudalis, from feudum (see fee).

  • fee from Middle English:

    A word bound up with the medieval feudal system, in which the nobles held Crown land in exchange for military service while the peasants were obliged to work their lord's land and give him a share of the produce. A fee was originally a fief (early 17th century) or feudal estate, from which it developed through the meanings ‘the right to an office or pension’, ‘a tribute to a superior’, and ‘a benefit or reward’ to the modern sense. The word comes from Old French feu or fief, and is related to feudal (early 17th century).

Words that rhyme with feudal

boodle, caboodle, canoodle, doodle, noodle, poodle, strudel, udal
Definition of feudal in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources