LOYALTY, allegiance to the sovereign or established government of one's country, also personal devotion and reverence to the sovereign and royal family. The English word came into use in the early part of the 15th century in the sense of fidelity to one's oath, or in service, love, etc.; the later and now the ordinary sense appears in the 16th century. The O. Fr. loialte, mod. loyauti, is formed from loial, loyal, Scots leal, Lat. legalis, legal, from lex, law. This was used in the special feudal sense of one who has full legal rights, a legalis homo being opposed to the exlex, utlegatus, or outlaw. Thence in the sense of faithful, it meant one who kept faithful allegiance to his feudal lord, and so loyal in the accepted use of the word.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)