faithful to one's sovereign, government, or state: a loyal subject.
faithful to one's oath, commitments, or obligations: to be loyal to a vow.
faithful to any leader, party, or cause, or to any person or thing conceived as deserving fidelity: a loyal friend.
characterized by or showing faithfulness to commitments, vows, allegiance, obligations, etc.: loyal conduct.

Origin of loyal

1525–35; < Middle French, Old French loial, le(i)al < Latin lēgālis legal
Related formsloy·al·ly, adverbloy·al·ness, nounnon·loy·al, adjectivenon·loy·al·ly, adverbo·ver·loy·al, adjectiveo·ver·loy·al·ly, adverbqua·si-loy·al, adjectivequa·si-loy·al·ly, adverbsu·per·loy·al, adjectivesu·per·loy·al·ly, adverbun·loy·al, adjectiveun·loy·al·ly, adverb

Synonyms for loyal

1. patriotic. 2. See faithful.

Antonyms for loyal

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for loyal

Contemporary Examples of loyal

Historical Examples of loyal

  • "He's a loyal kid, at that," Burke commented, with a grudging admiration.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • But, talk as he might, in Johnny Rosenfeld's loyal heart there was no thought of desertion.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • It seems fairly certain also that Heidegger was none too loyal as a partner.


    Edward J. Dent

  • Anybody would be loyal who'd been treated as my father treated Aleck.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • But he was a good husband, and she had a loyal respect for his rights.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for loyal



having or showing continuing allegiance
faithful to one's country, government, etc
of or expressing loyalty
Derived Formsloyally, adverbloyalness, noun

Word Origin for loyal

C16: from Old French loial, leial, from Latin lēgālis legal
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 loyal

1530s, in reference to subjects of sovereigns or governments, from Middle French loyal, from Old French loial, leal "of good quality; faithful; honorable; law-abiding; legitimate, born in wedlock," from Latin legalem, from lex "law." In most cases it has displaced Middle English leal, which is from the same French source. Sense development in English is feudal, via notion of "faithful in carrying out legal obligations." In a general sense (of dogs, lovers, etc.), from c.1600. As a noun meaning "those who are loyal" from 1530s (originally often in plural).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper