English edit

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Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English faierie, fairie, from Old French faerie, from fae + -erie, from Vulgar Latin *Fāta (goddess of fate), from Latin fātum (fate). Equivalent to fey +‎ -ry.

Attested in English from about 1300, first in the sense of "enchantment, illusion, dream" ("that thou herdest is fairye") and shortly thereafter "realm of the fays, fairy-land" and "the inhabitants of fairyland, collectively".[1] The re-interpretation of the term as a countable noun denoting individual inhabitants of fairy-land can be traced to the 1390s,[1] but became common only in the 16th century, perhaps due to reinterpreting phrases like faerie knight.[2]

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

fairy (countable and uncountable, plural fairies)

  1. (uncountable, obsolete) The realm of faerie; enchantment, illusion.
  2. A mythical being of human form with magical powers, known in many sizes and descriptions, although often depicted in modern illustrations only as a small sprite with gauze-like wings, especially one that is female. Fairies are revered in some modern forms of paganism.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, translated by H.L. Brækstad, Folk and Fairy Tales, page 51:
      "They used to say there were fairies in that hill, I must tell you!"
  3. An enchantress, or creature of overpowering charm.
  4. (British, obsolete, colloquial) An attractive young woman.
    • 1920, H. C. McNeile "Snapper", 'Bulldog Drummond'[1]:
      "When are we going to see this fairy?" demanded Algy.
      "You, personally, never. You're far too immoral. I might let the others look at her from a distance in a year or two."
    • 1942, Dennis Wheatley, 'Gunmen, Gallants and Ghosts'[2]:
      As she took out her key she was quite unaware that three pairs of eyes were watching her with interest from across the street. [...]
      ‘Strewth–’e ain’t ‘arf got a fairy this time,’ remarked the husky Mr. Clegg.
  5. (Northern England, US, derogatory, colloquial) A male homosexual, especially one who is effeminate.
    • 1933, Nathanael West, 'Miss Lonelyhearts' : [Miss Lonelyhearts is male.]:
      The cripple returned the smile and stuck out his hand. Miss Lonelyhearts clasped it, and they stood this way, smiling and holding hands, until Mrs. Doyle reëntered the room.
      "What a sweet pair of fairies you guys are," she said.
      The cripple pulled his hand away and made as though to strike his wife.
    • 1957, Jack Kerouac, chapter 4, in On the Road, Viking Press, →OCLC, part 3:
      We saw a horrible sight in the bar: a white hipster fairy had come in wearing a Hawaiian shirt and was asking the big drummer if he could sit in.
    • 1989, Marshall Kirk, Hunter Madsen, After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the '90s, Doubleday Books, page 20:
      Wimpy names—e.g., Cecil, Clarence, and Wendell—also seem to carry homosexual overtones, because we all know that fairies are meek and wimpy, just as we know that all wimps are ‘fags’ in one sense or the other.
  6. A member of two species of hummingbird in the genus Heliothryx.
  7. A legendary Chinese immortal.
    Synonyms: xian, immortal

Synonyms edit

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

Adjective edit

fairy (comparative more fairy, superlative most fairy)

  1. Like a fairy; fanciful, whimsical, delicate.
    • 1831, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XX, in Romance and Reality. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, [], →OCLC, page 287:
      ….—a large cashmere shawl, with its border of roses, thrown carelessly on a chair—a crimson cushion, where lay sleeping a Blenheim dog, almost small enough to have passed through the royal ring in that most fairy tale of the White Cat:—all bespoke a lady's room.

References edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Oxford English Dictionary, 1884–1928, and First Supplement, 1933.
  2. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2024) “fairy”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.

Spanish edit

Spanish Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia es
Two bottles of Fairy

Etymology edit

From genericized trademark Fairy.

Noun edit

fairy m (uncountable)

  1. (Spain) washing-up liquid, dish soap
    Synonyms: lavavajillas, lavavajillas líquido
    • 2022 January 23, Janire Manzanas, “¿Se pueden limpiar las gafas con Fairy?”, in OkDiario[3]:
      Sin embargo, no siempre tenemos una gamuza a mano, así que recurrimos a otras soluciones, como limpiar las gafas con Fairy y agua.
      However, we don't always have a chamois on hand, so we turn to other solutions, such as cleaning the glasses with Fairy and water.
    • 2019 March 5, “Así es la "trampa del Fairy" de Millo que desata las risas en redes”, in El Plural[4]:
      El exdelegado del Gobierno en Cataluña Josep Enric Millo se ha referido este martes durante su declaración en el juicio del 'procés' en el Supremo a la "trampa del Fairy" como uno de los tipos de agresión que sufrieron los agentes que participaron en el dispositivo desplegado en la jornada del referéndum del 1 de octubre en Cataluña.
      (please add an English translation of this quotation)