[ vas-uh l ]
/ ˈvæs əl /
(in the feudal system) a person granted the use of land, in return for rendering homage, fealty, and usually military service or its equivalent to a lord or other superior; feudal tenant.
a person holding some similar relation to a superior; a subject, subordinate, follower, or retainer.
a servant or slave.
of, relating to, or characteristic of a vassal.
having the status or position of a vassal.
Origin of vassal
1300–50; Middle English < Middle French < Medieval Latin vassallus, equivalent to vass(us) servant (< Celtic; compare Welsh gwas young man, Irish foss servant) + -allus noun suffix
Related formsvas·sal·less, adjectivenon·vas·sal, nounsub·vas·sal, nounun·der·vas·sal, noun
Can be confusedvassal vessel
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for sub-vassal
Vavassour, s. a sub-vassal, next in dignity to a baron, A 360.
British Dictionary definitions for sub-vassal
/ (ˈvæsəl) /
(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
- a person, nation, etc, in a subordinate, suppliant, or dependent position relative to another
- (as modifier)vassal status
of or relating to a vassal
Derived Formsvassal-less, adjective
Word Origin for 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 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Culture definitions for sub-vassal
Under feudalism, a subordinate who placed himself in service to a lord in return for the lord's protection.
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.