Vassalage is the noun for having mutual obligations with a social superior in a feudal state, more or less.

What's the noun for this relationship going the other way? That is, if vassalage describes the relationship from the vassal's perspective, is there a word to describe the relationship from the lord's perspective?

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    Feudatory : (adjective) > relating to or characteristic of the relationship between lord and vassal.
    – user 66974
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 6:17
  • As you indicate, vassalage involves mutual obligations, so perhaps it reflects the relationship from the point of view of both the vassal and the superior. The mutual obligations are quid pro quos. Same for tenancy. Perhaps the "if" in your question amounts to a false premise. Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 13:32

2 Answers 2


From the OED:

suzerainty (n.) (from suzerain, n. (and adj.) a. A feudal overlord.)

2. The position, rank, or power of a suzerain.

1862 W. F. Hook Lives Archbishops Canterbury II. ii. 124 He..sought to advance the Pope's claim to a spiritual suzerainty.

1874 J. R. Green Short Hist. Eng. People iv. §3. 182 The Scotch lords..formally admitted Edward's direct suzerainty.

1874 W. Stubbs Constit. Hist. I. i. 4 Its character of nominal suzerainty is exchanged for that of absolute sovereignty.


From the OED

lordship, n: 1. a. The dignity, functions, or position of a lord; dominion; sovereignty; (also) power over (also occasionally †on) or ownership of something specified. Also in extended use.

1611 Bible (King James) Mark x. 42 They which are accompted to rule ouer the Gentiles, exercise Lordship ouer them.

1900 Edinb. Rev. July 57 The Templars acquired lordship over not less than 9,000 manors.

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