- Feudalism is defined as a Medieval European political, economic and social system from the 9th to 15th century.
An example of feudalism is someone farming a piece of land for a lord and agreeing to serve under the lord in war in exchange for getting to live on the land and receiving protection.
feudalism definition by Webster's New World
- the economic, political, and social system in medieval Europe, in which land, worked by serfs who were bound to it, was held by vassals in exchange for military and other services given to overlords
- a society organized like that in medieval Europe
feudalism definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- A political and economic system of Europe from the 9th to about the 15th century, based on the holding of all land in fief or fee and the resulting relation of lord to vassal and characterized by homage, legal and military service of tenants, and forfeiture.
- A political, economic, or social order resembling this medieval system.
- feuˈdal·ist noun
- feuˌdal·isˈtic adjective
feudalism - Cultural Definition
A system of obligations that bound lords and their subjects in Europe during much of the Middle Ages. In theory, the king owned all or most of the land and gave it to his leading nobles in return for their loyalty and military service. The nobles in turn held land that peasants, including serfs, were allowed to farm in return for the peasants' labor and a portion of their produce. Under feudalism, people were born with a permanent position in society. (See fief and vassal.)
- Today, the word feudal is sometimes used as a general term for a set of social relationships that seems unprogressive or out of step with modern society.