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Etymology 1Edit

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, usually form, shape, frame, form in thought, imagine, conceive, contrive, devise, feign).


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
    • (Can we date this quote by Robert Burns and provide title, author's full name, and other details?) "Faint heart ne'er won fair lady." Robert Burns - To Dr. Blackjack.
  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, Sophist. Translation by Lesley Brown. 243b.
      do you have the faintest understanding of what they mean?
Derived termsEdit


faint (plural faints)

  1. The act of fainting, syncope.
  2. (rare) The state of one who has fainted; a swoon.
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

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).
    • Bible, Mark viii. 8
      If I send them away fasting [] they will faint by the way.
    • Guardian
      Hearing the honour intended her, she fainted away.
  2. (intransitive) To sink into dejection; to lose courage or spirit; to become depressed or despondent.
    • Bible, Proverbs xxiv. 10
      If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
  3. (intransitive) To decay; to disappear; to vanish.
    • Alexander Pope
      Gilded clouds, while we gaze upon them, faint before the eye.

Further readingEdit



Alternative formsEdit


Shortened from pa faint (what amount).




  1. how much, how many

Usage notesEdit

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.