Under the feudal system, a fief was a piece of land. This is short for fiefdom.

Words that go along with fief are vassal and feudal lord; the lord (kind of like our landlords) owned the fief and the vassal was subject to all of his rules. If you were the lord of a fief, your tenant was your servant. If you were to work on someone’s farm but were paid nothing, it would be like you were working a fief. The word is not used much these days — though people still don’t like landlords much.

Definitions of fief
  1. noun

    a piece of land held under the feudal system

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    type of:

    acres, demesne, estate, land, landed estate

    extensive landed property (especially in the country) retained by the owner for his own use

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