Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    Fidelity of a vassal or tenant to his superior or lord. See fi N. Y 467, 57 Am. Dec. 470.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    In feudal law. Fidelity; allegiance to the feudal lord of the manor; the feudal obligation resting upon the tenant or vassal by which he was bound to be faithful and true to his lord, and render him obedience and service. See De Peyster v. Michael, 6 N. Y. 497, 57 Am. Dec. 470. Fealty signifies fidelity, the phrase "feal and leal" meaning simply "faithful and loyal." Tenants by knights' service and also tenants in socage were required to take an oath of fealty to the king or others, their immediate lords; and fealty was one of the conditions of their tenure, the breach of which operated a forfeiture of their estates. Brown. Although foreign lurists consider fealty and homage as convertible terms, because in some continental countries they are blended so as to form one engagement, yet they are not to be confounded in our country, for they do not imply the same thing, homage being the acknowledgment of tenure, and fealty, the vassal oath of fidelity, being the essential feudal bond, and the animating .principle of a feud, without which it could not subsist. Wharton.