- 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
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.
- 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.
(countable and uncountable, plural feudalisms)
From feudal + -ism.
- Feudalism was not at any time a national institution.
- Feudalism formed the starting-point also of the later social nobilities of Europe.
- The uniting of the personal and the land sides of feudalism came long after the conquest, and in a different way.
- It is better to say that European feudalism is not to be found in England before the Conquest, not even in its beginnings.
- Feudalism could not be established, however, until the great of the land had adopted them for themselves, and had begun to enter the clientage of others and to hold lands by the precarium tenure.