From English dialectal (Kentish) feeze, feese (“to alarm, discomfit, frighten”), from Middle English fēsen (“to chase, drive away; put to flight; discomfit, frighten, terrify”), from Old English fēsan, fȳsan (“to send forth; to hasten, impel, stimulate; to banish, drive away, put to flight; to prepare oneself”), from Proto-Germanic *funsijaną (“to predispose, make favourable; to make ready”), from Proto-Indo-European *pent- (“to go; to walk”). The word is cognate with Old Norse fýsa (“to drive, goad; to admonish”), Old Saxon fūsian (“to strive”).
Citations for faze in the Oxford English Dictionary start in 1830, and usage was established by 1890.
- (Received Pronunciation, General American) enPR: fāz, IPA(key): /feɪz/
Audio (AU) (file)
- Homophone: phase
- Rhymes: -eɪz
- (transitive, informal) To frighten or cause hesitation; to daunt, put off (usually used in the negative); to disconcert, to perturb. [from mid 19th c.]
- Jumping out of an airplane does not faze him, yet he is afraid to ride a roller coaster.
- 1990, “Assessment”, in Broadening the Base of Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Report of a Study by a Committee of the Institute of Medicine, Division of Mental Health and Behavioral Medicine, Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, →ISBN, section III (Aspects of Treatment), pages 252–253:
- Some individuals "can't hold their liquor" and become thoroughly intoxicated on small amounts of alcohol which would not faze most social drinkers.
- 2017 November 10, Daniel Taylor, “Youthful England earn draw with Germany but Lingard rues late miss”, in The Guardian, London, archived from the original on 28 March 2018:
The word phase is sometimes used incorrectly for faze; such notables as Mark Twain and The New York Times have made this error. This sometimes leads to the supposition that faze is an uneducated spelling of phase, but this is incorrect as they are distinct terms.