Dictionary: FAINT – FAIR'NESS

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FAINT, a. [Ir. faine, a weakening; fann, weak; fanntais, weakness, inclination to faint; anbhfaine, fainting; Fr. faineant, idle, sluggish. This word is perhaps allied to Fr. faner, to fade, wither, decay, to make hay, foin, L. fœnum; and to vain, L. vanus, whence to vanish, Ar. فَنِي fani, to vanish, to fail, Eng. to wane, Sax. fynig, musty. Class Bn, No. 25.]

  1. Weak; languid; inclined to swoon; as, to be rendered faint by excessive evacuations.
  2. Weak; feeble; languid; exhausted; as, faint with fatigue, hunger or thirst.
  3. Weak, as color; not bright or vivid; not strong; as, a faint color; a faint red or blue; a faint light.
  4. Feeble; weak, as sound; not loud; as, a faint sound; a faint voice.
  5. Imperfect; feeble; not striking; as, a faint resemblance or image.
  6. Cowardly; timorous. A faint heart never wins a fair lady.
  7. Feeble; not vigorous; not active; as, a faint resistance; a faint exertion.
  8. Dejected; depressed; dispirited. My heart is faint. Lam. i.

FAINT, v.i.

  1. To lose the animal functions; to lose strength and color, and become senseless and motionless; to swoon; sometimes with away. He fainted for loss of blood. On hearing the honor intended her, she fainted away. Guardian.
  2. To become feeble; to decline or fail in strength and vigor; to be weak. If I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way. Mark viii.
  3. To sink into dejection; to lose courage or spirit. Let not your hearts faint. Deut. xx. If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. Prov. xxiv.
  4. To decay; to disappear; to vanish. Gilded clouds, while we gaze on them, faint before the eye. Pope.

FAINT, v.t.

To deject; to depress; to weaken. [Unusual.] Shak.


Cowardly; timorous; dejected; easily depressed, or yielding to fear. Fear not, neither be fainthearted. Is. vii.


In a cowardly manner.


Cowardice; timorousness; want of courage.


A temporary loss of strength, color and respiration; syncope; deliquium; leipothymy; a swoon. Wiseman.


Falling into a swoon; failing; losing strength or courage; becoming feeble or timid.


Slightly faint.


A slight degree of faintness. Arbuthnot.


Timorous; feeble-minded. [Not used.] Arbuthnot.

FAINT'LY, adv.

  1. In a feeble, languid manner; without vigor or activity; as, to attack or defend faintly.
  2. With a feeble flame; as, a torch burns faintly.
  3. With a feeble light; as, the candle burns faintly.
  4. With little force; as, to breathe faintly.
  5. Without force of representation; imperfectly; as, to describe faintly what we have seen.
  6. In a low tone; with a feeble voice; as, to speak faintly.
  7. Without spirit or courage; timorously. He faintly now declines the fatal strife. Denham.


  1. The state of being faint; loss of strength, color and respiration.
  2. Feebleness; languor; want of strength. Hooker.
  3. Inactivity; want of vigor. Spenser.
  4. Feebleness, as of color or light.
  5. Feebleness of representation; as, faintness of description.
  6. Feebleness of mind; timorousness; dejection; irresolution. I will send a faintness into their hearts. Lev. xxvi.

FAINTS, n. plur.

The gross fetid oil remaining after distillation, or a weak spirituous liquor that runs from the still in rectifying the low wines after the proof spirit is drawn off; also, the last runnings of all spirits distilled by the alembic. Encyc. Edwards, W. Ind.


Weak; feeble; languid. Dryden.

FAIR, a. [Sax. fæger; Sw. fager; Dan. faver. If the sense is primarily to open, to clear, to separate, this word may belong to the root of Sw. fäja, Dan. fejer, D. veegen, G. fegen, to sweep, scour, furbish.]

  1. Clear; free from spots; free from a dark hue; white; as, a fair skin; a fair complexion. Hence,
  2. Beautiful; handsome; properly, having a handsome face. Thou art a fair woman to look upon. Gen. xii. Hence,
  3. Pleasing to the eye; handsome or beautiful in general. Thus was he fair in his greatness, in the length of his branches. Ezek. xxxi.
  4. Clear; pure; free from feculence or extraneous matter; as, fair water.
  5. Clear; not cloudy or overcast; as, fair weather; a fair sky.
  6. Favorable; prosperous; blowing in a direction toward the place of destination; as, a fair wind at sea.
  7. Open; direct, as a way or passage. You are in a fair way to promotion. Hence, likely to succeed. He stands as fair to succeed as any man.
  8. Open to attack or access; unobstructed; as, a fair mark; a fair butt; fair in sight; in fair sight; a fair view.
  9. Open; frank; honest; hence, equal; just; equitable. My friend is a fair man; his offer is fair; his propositions are fair and honorable.
  10. Not effected by insidious or unlawful methods; not foul. He died a fair and natural death. Temple.
  11. Frank; candid; not sophistical or insidious; as, a fair disputant.
  12. Honest; honorable; mild; opposed to insidious and compulsory; as, to accomplish a thing by fair means.
  13. Frank; civil; pleasing; not harsh. When fair words and good counsel will not prevail on us, we must be frighted into our duty. L'Estranage.
  14. Equitable; just; merited. His doom is fair, That dust I am, and shall to dust return. Milton.
  15. Liberal; not narrow; as, a fair livelihood. Carew.
  16. Plain; legible; as, the letter is written in a fair hand.
  17. Free from stain or blemish; unspotted; untarnished; as, a fair character or fame.

FAIR, adv.

  1. Openly; frankly; civilly; complaisantly. One of the company spoke him fair. L'Estrange.
  2. Candidly; honestly; equitably. He promised fair.
  3. Happily; successfully. Now fair befall thee. Shak.
  4. On good terms; as, to keep fair with the world; to stand fair with one's companions. To bid fair, is to be likely, or to have a fair prospect. Fair and square, just dealing; honesty.

FAIR, n.

  1. Elliptically, a fair woman; a handsome female. The fair, the female sex.
  2. Fairness; applied to things or persons. [Not in use.]

FAIR, n. [Fr. foire; W. fair; Arm. foar, foer, feur, or for; L. forum, or feriæ. The It. fiera, and Sp. feria, a fair, are the L. feriæ, a holiday, a day exempt from labor; G. feier, whence feiern, to rest from labor. If fair is from forum, it may coincide in origin with Gr. πορευω, εμπορευομαι, to trade, whence εμποριον, emporium, the primary sense of which is to pass. In Norman French we find fair and feire. If fair is from feriæ, it is so called from being held in places where the wakes or feasts at the dedication of churches were held, or from the feasts themselves. It is a fact that Sundays were formerly market days.]

A stated market in a particular town or city; a stated meeting of buyers and sellers for trade. A fair is annual or more frequent. The privilege of holding fairs is granted by the king or supreme power. Among the most celebrated fairs in Europe are those of Francfort and Leipsic in Germany; of Novi in the Milanese; of Riga and Archangel in Russia; of Lyons and St. Germain in France. In Great Britain many towns enjoy this privilege. Encyc. In the United States, there are no fairs similar to those in England; at least I know of none. The ladies sometimes hold fairs for the sale of their work for charitable purposes.


Having fair hair.


Having a fair appearance. Shak.


Fairness; beauty. Fox.


A present given at a fair. Gay.

FAIR'LY, adv.

  1. Beautifully; handsomely. [Little used.]
  2. Commodiously; conveniently; as, a town fairly situated for foreign trade.
  3. Frankly; honestly; justly; equitably; without disguise, fraud or prevarication. The question was fairly stated and argued. Let us deal fairly with all men.
  4. Openly; ingenuously; plainly. Let us deal fairly with ourselves or our own hearts.
  5. Candidly. I interpret fairly your design. Dryden.
  6. Without perversion or violence; as, an inference may be fairly deduced from the premises.
  7. Without blots; in plain letters; plainly; legibly; as, an instrument or record fairly written.
  8. Completely; without deficience. His antagonist fought till he was fairly defeated.
  9. Softly; gently. Milton.


  1. Clearness; freedom from spots or blemishes; whiteness; as, the fairness of skin or complexion.
  2. Clearness; purity; as, the fairness of water.
  3. Freedom from stain or blemish; as, the fairness of character or reputation.
  4. Beauty; elegance; as, the fairness of form.
  5. Frankness; candor; hence, honesty; ingenuousness; as, fairness in trade.
  6. Openness; candor; freedom from disguise, insidiousness or prevarication; as, the fairness of an argument.
  7. Equality of terms; equity; as, the fairness of a contract.
  8. Distinctness; freedom from blots or obscurity; as, the fairness of hand-writing; the fairness of a copy.