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Vassal

A youth. In feudal times it meant a feudatory, or one who held lands under a “lord.” In law it means a bondservant or political slave, as “England shall never be the vassal of a foreign prince.” Christian says, in his Notes on Blackstone, that the corruption of the meaning of vassal into slave “is an incontrovertible proof of the horror of feudalism in England.” (Welsh, gwas, a boy or servant; gwasan, a page; like the French garcon, and Latin puer; Italian, vassallo, a servant.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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