AskDefine | Define fief

Dictionary Definition

fief n : a piece of land held under the feudal system [syn: feoff]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. An estate held of a superior on condition of military service.
  2. Something over which one has rights or exercises control.
  3. i metaphor An area of dominion, esp. in a corporate or governmental bureaucracy.


Related terms

Extensive Definition

Under the system of feudalism, a fiefdom, fief, feud, feoff, or fee, often consisted of inheritable lands or revenue-producing property granted by a liege lord, generally to a vassal, in return for a form of allegiance, originally to give him the means to fulfill his military duties when called upon. However anything of value could be held in fief, such as an office, a right of exploitation (e.g., hunting, fishing) or any other type of revenue, rather than the land it comes from.

Derogatory usage

In contemporary usage, fiefdomism can refer to behavior of bureaucrats or small time politicians when information or programs are isolated and jealously guarded from other bureaucrats or small time politicians in order to preserve their power at the expense of making government worse.

See also

Sources and references

fief in Asturian: Feudu
fief in Catalan: Feu
fief in Czech: Léno
fief in Danish: Len
fief in German: Lehnswesen
fief in Spanish: Feudo
fief in Esperanto: Feŭdo
fief in French: Fief
fief in Croatian: Feud
fief in Italian: Feudo
fief in Hebrew: פיף
fief in Lithuanian: Feodas
fief in Dutch: Heerlijkheid
fief in Japanese: レーエン
fief in Norwegian: Len
fief in Norwegian Nynorsk: Len
fief in Narom: Fieu
fief in Polish: Lenno
fief in Portuguese: Feudo
fief in Russian: Феод
fief in Simple English: Fiefdom
fief in Slovak: Léno
fief in Finnish: Lahjoitusmaa
fief in Swedish: Förläning
fief in Walloon: Fî
fief in Chinese: 采邑制

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

copyhold, equitable estate, estate at sufferance, estate for life, estate for years, estate in expectancy, estate in fee, estate in possession, estate tail, fee, fee simple, fee tail, feod, feodum, feud, feudal estate, lease, leasehold, legal estate, paramount estate, particular estate, remainder, reversion, vested estate
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