1. Primarily, a deadly quarrel; hatred and contention that was to be terminated only by death. Among our rude ancestors, these quarrels, though originating in the murder of an individual, involved the whole tribe or family of the injured and of the aggressing parties. Hence in modern usage,
2. A contention or quarrel; particularly, an inveterate quarrel between families or parties in a state; the discord and animosities which prevail among the citizens of a state or city, sometimes accompanied with civil war. In the north of Great Britain, the word is still used in its original sense; denoting a combination of kindred to revenge the death of any of their blood, on the offender and all his race, or any other great enemy. We say, it is the policy of our enemies to raise and cherish intestine feuds.
The word is not strictly applicable to wars between different nations, but to intestine wars, and to quarrels and animosities between families or small tribes.
FEUD, n. L. fides; Eng. loan.
A fief; a fee; a right to lands or hereditaments held in trust, or on the terms of performing certain conditions; the right which a vassal or tenant has to the lands or other immovable thing of his lord, to use the same and take the profits thereof hereditarily, rendering to his superior such duties and services as belong to military tenure, &c., the property of the soil always remaining in the lord or superior.
From the foregoing explanation of the origin of the word, result very naturally the definition of the term, and the doctrine of forfeiture, upon non-performance of the conditions of the trust or loan.