- 1350–1400; Middle English loialte
- Adjective. French. loyal, Old French. loial, leial, semi-popular ad. L. lgl-em
- 1. Faithful adherence to one's promise, oath, word of honour, etc.; conjugal faithfulness, fidelity. Also in phrase by my loyalty.
- 2. a. Faithful adherence to the sovereign or lawful government; spec. of government employees. Also, in recent use, enthusiastic reverence for the person and family of the sovereign.
- b. attrib. in loyalty loan; loyalty oath U.S., an oath, usually mandatory, required of a prospective public employee or other person in which he swears to abstain from subversive activities.
- 3. Lawfulness, legality (of marriage). Obs. rare 1.
fealty, devotion, constancy. Loyalty, allegiance, fidelity all imply a sense of duty or of devoted attachment to something or someone. Loyalty connotes sentiment and the feeling of devotion that one holds for one's country, creed, family, friends, etc. Allegiance applies particularly to a citizen's duty to his or her country, or, by extension, one's obligation to support a party, cause, leader, etc. Fidelity implies unwavering devotion and allegiance to a person, principle, etc.