• synonyms


  1. a fee or feud held of a feudal lord; a tenure of land subject to feudal obligations.
  2. a territory held in fee.
  3. fiefdom.
Show More

Origin of fief

1605–15; < French, variant of Old French fieu, fie, cognate with Anglo-French fe fee < Germanic; compare Old High German fihu, Old English feoh cattle, property; akin to Latin pecū flock of sheep, pecus cattle, pecūnia wealth
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fief

Historical Examples of fief

  • The wardship of this fief and manor, during the minority of the seigneur, was in the Crown.

    The Coinages of the Channel Islands

    B. Lowsley

  • What most irritated him was the close proximity of Norby's fief to Sweden.

  • Frederick Barbarossa erected their fief into a county in 1160.

    New Italian sketches

    John Addington Symonds

  • Adjebeg received in fief the valley which still bears his name.

  • It was there that Claude's parents resided, in the midst of their fief.

British Dictionary definitions for fief



  1. (in feudal Europe) the property or fee granted to a vassal for his maintenance by his lord in return for service
Show More

Word Origin for fief

C17: from Old French fie, of Germanic origin; compare Old English fēo cattle, money, Latin pecus cattle, pecūnia money, Greek pokos fleece
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

Word Origin and History for fief


also feoff, 1610s, from French fief (12c.) "possession, holding, domain," a variant of Old French fieu "fee" (see fee).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

fief in Culture



Under feudalism, a landed estate given by a lord to a vassal in return for the vassal's service to the lord. The vassal could use the fief as long as he remained loyal to the lord.

Show More
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.