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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English faynt, feynt (weak; feeble), from Old French faint, feint (feigned; negligent; sluggish), past participle of feindre, faindre (to feign; sham; work negligently), from Latin fingere (to touch, handle, form, shape, frame, form in thought, imagine, conceive, contrive, devise, feign), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *dʰeyǵʰ- (to mold). Cognate with feign and fiction and more distantly dough.


faint (comparative fainter, superlative faintest)

  1. (of a being) Lacking strength; weak; languid; inclined to lose consciousness
    I felt faint after my fifth gin and tonic.
  2. Lacking courage, spirit, or energy; cowardly; dejected
    • 1789, Robert Burns, to Dr. Blacklock:
      Faint heart ne'er won fair lady.
  3. Barely perceptible; not bright, or loud, or sharp
    There was a faint red light in the distance.
  4. Performed, done, or acted, weakly; not exhibiting vigor, strength, or energy
    faint efforts
    faint resistance
  5. Slight; minimal.
    • 2005, Plato, translated by Lesley Brown, Sophist, page 243b:
      do you have the faintest understanding of what they mean?
  6. (archaic) Sickly, so as to make a person feel faint.
    • 1843, Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit:
      Happening to pass a fruiterer’s on their way; the door of which was open, though the shop was by this time shut; one of them remarked how faint the peaches smelled.
Derived terms[edit]


faint (plural faints)

  1. The act of fainting, syncope.
    She suffered another faint.
  2. (rare) The state of one who has fainted; a swoon.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English fainten, feynten, from the adjective (see above).


faint (third-person singular simple present faints, present participle fainting, simple past and past participle fainted)

  1. (intransitive) To lose consciousness through a lack of oxygen or nutrients to the brain, usually as a result of suddenly reduced blood flow (may be caused by emotional trauma, loss of blood or various medical conditions).
  2. (intransitive) To lose courage or spirit; to become depressed or despondent.
  3. (intransitive) To decay; to disappear; to vanish.
Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]




From Middle High German vīnt, vīent, vīant, from Old High German fīant, fīand, from Proto-Germanic *fijandz (enemy, fiend). Cognate with German Feind, English fiend.


faint m (plural fainte)

  1. (Sette Comuni) enemy, fiend
    Biibel péssor möchte zeinan de bèlt as da börn khòone fainte?
    How much better would the world be if there were no enemies?


  • “faint” in Martalar, Umberto Martello; Bellotto, Alfonso (1974) Dizionario della lingua Cimbra dei Sette Communi vicentini, 1st edition, Roana, Italy: Instituto di Cultura Cimbra A. Dal Pozzo


Alternative forms[edit]


Shortened from pa faint (what amount).




  1. how much, how many
    am faint o amserfor how long (literally, “for how much time”)
    am faint o'r glochat what time (literally, “at how many o'clock”)

Usage notes[edit]

Faint means either how many, followed by o and the plural form of a noun with soft mutation, or how much, preceding o and the singular form of a noun, again with soft mutation. Sawl corresponds only to English how many and is followed by the singular form of a noun.