Dictionary.com

vassal

[ vas-uhl ]
/ ˈvæs əl /
Save This Word!

noun
(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.
adjective
of, relating to, or characteristic of a vassal.
having the status or position of a vassal.
QUIZ
SPRINT TO THE FINISH WITH THIS OLYMPICS QUIZ!
Compete in our Olympics quiz to see if you can take home the gold medal in Olympics knowledge.
Question 1 of 10
Where was the Olympics first held?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

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

OTHER WORDS FROM vassal

vas·sal·less, adjectivenon·vas·sal, nounsub·vas·sal, nounun·der·vas·sal, noun

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH vassal

vassal , vessel
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use vassal in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for vassal

vassal
/ (ˈvæsəl) /

noun
(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
  1. a person, nation, etc, in a subordinate, suppliant, or dependent position relative to another
  2. (as modifier)vassal status
adjective
of or relating to a vassal

Derived forms of vassal

vassal-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

Cultural definitions for vassal

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.
FEEDBACK