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Vassal definitions

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

1. A feudatory; a tenant; one who holds land of a superior, and who vows fidelity and homage to him. A rear vassal is one who holds of a lord who is himself a vassal.
2. A subject; a dependant.
3. A servant.
4. In common language, a bondman; a political slave. We will never be the vassals of a foreign prince.
VAS'SAL, v.t. To subject to control; to enslave.

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

1: a person holding a fief; a person who owes allegiance and service to a feudal lord [syn: vassal, liege, liegeman, liege subject, feudatory]

Merriam Webster's

noun Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin vassallus, from vassus servant, vassal, of Celtic origin; akin to Welsh gwas young man, servant Date: 14th century 1. a person under the protection of a feudal lord to whom he has vowed homage and fealty ; a feudal tenant 2. one in a subservient or subordinate position vassal adjective

Oxford Reference Dictionary

n. 1 hist. a holder of land by feudal tenure on conditions of homage and allegiance. 2 rhet. a humble dependant. Derivatives: vassalage n. Etymology: ME f. OF f. med.L vassallus retainer, of Celt. orig.: the root vassus corresp. to OBret. uuas, Welsh gwas, Ir. foss: cf. VAVASOUR

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Vassal Vas"sal, n. [F., fr. LL. vassallus, vassus; of Celtic origin; cf. W. & Corn. gwas a youth, page, servant, Arm. gwaz a man, a male. Cf. Valet, Varlet, Vavasor.] 1. (Feud. Law) The grantee of a fief, feud, or fee; one who holds land of superior, and who vows fidelity and homage to him; a feudatory; a feudal tenant. --Burrill. 2. A subject; a dependent; a servant; a slave. ``The vassals of his anger.'' --Milton. Rear vassal, the vassal of a vassal; an arriere vassal.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Vassal Vas"sal, a. Resembling a vassal; slavish; servile. The sun and every vassal star. --Keble.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Vassal Vas"sal, v. t. To treat as a vassal; to subject to control; to enslave. [Obs.] --Beau. & Fl.

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

(vassals) 1. In feudal society, a vassal was a man who gave military service to a lord, in return for which he was protected by the lord and received land to live on. N-COUNT 2. If you say that one country is a vassal of another, you mean that it is controlled by it. (WRITTEN) Opponents of the treaty argue that monetary union will turn France into a vassal of Germany. N-COUNT: usu sing [disapproval]

Soule's Dictionary of English Synonyms

n. 1. Feudatory, feudal tenant. 2. Subject, dependant, retainer. 3. Servant, bondman, slave.

Moby Thesaurus

bondmaid, bondman, bondslave, bondsman, bondswoman, captive, chattel, chattel slave, churl, client, concubine, creature, debt slave, dependent, feudal, feudatory, flunky, follower, galley slave, hanger-on, helot, homager, inferior, lackey, liege, liege man, liege subject, minion, myrmidon, odalisque, peon, retainer, serf, servant, servile, slave, stooge, subject, subordinate, subservient, theow, thrall, tributary, underling, understrapper, villein, yeoman


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