The Old French Word Loial Which Means Something Like “Legal”


I like to write and hence, there are often times that I am ask about a specific word or what would be my definition of a word be.

When this happens, my first thought is “this is some of test, right?” or “can we play a game of mental hopscotch?.”

Today, I was ask what I thought the definition of the word “Loyal” would mean.

I realized after our conversation, that I had categorized the word to fit one persons question and not the world as a whole, which led me to think about it some more and here we are discussing what a single word might mean to the masses.

After debating with myself for a time, I came to the conclusion that each word is going to mean something different to each person and each person might assign a weight and/or a value to that word. Almost like a points system. For example, someone might say “I’m loyal to a point”. Indicating that the person has assigned a point value to the word. On a scale of 1 to 10, that person’s interpretation might lead the word to have a point value of 5.

This gave me more thinking to do and as one might expect, I wanted to see what other people might have to say about the word “loyal or loyalty”.

Inquisitively, I jump on the phone to ask others what they thought the word loyal meant to them to see if my thoughts might have touched onto something worth writing about, I was not disappointed in the conversations that I had.

It turned out that indeed – at least to the people that I spoke with – people do assign a point/weight system to each word that they think of.

This of course led to the internet to come up with the following definitions.

If you are faithful and devoted to someone or something, you’re loyal. If you refuse to buy milk from anyone other than Farmer Jones, then you’re a very loyal customer.

Someone who is loyal is reliable and always true, like your trusty dog. Loyal comes from the Old French word loial which means something like “legal,” but if someone is only loyal to you because the law requires him to be, that’s not true loyalty, which should come from the heart, not a contract. A loyal friend supports you all the time, no matter what. You can also be loyal to an idea, like the People’s Revolution, or girl-power.

Loyalty is an essential quality in any close relationship. When your person is loyal, it’s a strong assurance of another person. Whether it be in work, business, family, friendship or a relationship, loyalty builds from specific characteristics.

Just because someone is a family member, neighbor or friend does not mean that they will be loyal. Ideally, we wish that were true (and hopefully someday it is), but for now loyalty must be earned.

Much like steps on a ladder, there are specific qualities that you can see in a person to know if they are truly loyal. We call this the “Loyalty Ladder“.

A truly loyal person will be loyal because they want to. Loyalty through obligation can be dangerous. But, sometimes it’s hard to detect. People can be deceiving due to their own personal agendas and show this subtly through their words and actions.

A loyal person will reach out to you when you need them. They care enough to stay aware, and take action when they know you need a pick-me-up, or just a little reminder to stay on track.

If someone talks about someone else to you behind their back, who do you think they’ll talk about when you’re not around? A loyal person will be respectful of you away from your presence. They will decline the opportunity to spread gossip, and may even deliver a serious message, sharing their opinion of gossiping with the people doing it.

A loyal person will share their honest opinion (even if it’s not always what you want to hear). Sometimes, they want to share their experience with you, hoping that it will give you insight and help you follow your best path.

In a relationship, a loyal person loves you (and only you) fully and completely.

A truly loyal person is always sincere. They show very subtle, yet powerful signs that they care. You’ll find that they are faithful in a way that they show up during the good times and the bad times. Loyal people are supportive (even loving) for no other reason than that they care.
Practice random acts of kindness.

When one does what is right by their own personal values and morals, and is also supported by societal norms, that’s integrity. They are kind. They properly care for themselves and others around them. And, they respect boundaries. In fact, they are known for it.

Personal loyalty is displayed through love, devotion, dedication and commitment to the well being of another.

It’s important to keep in mind that we are all a work in progress. We can strive to be better in all of these areas. It’s not up to us to judge or be harsh to those that aren’t – there’s a good chance that deep down inside of themselves, a desire to be loyal and have loyalty shown to them resides.

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