- delicate or lovely: an airy-fairy actress; an airy-fairy nightgown.
- not based on reality or concerned with mundane affairs; unrealistic: airy-fairy ideas about spending a fortune that isn't even his.
- Slang. effeminate; swishy.
Origin of airy-fairy
perhaps orig. in the phrase “airy, fairy Lilian” in Tennyson's poem “Lilian” (1830)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for airy-fairy
Nothing of the tootsey-wootsey about her foot, and nothing of the airy-fairy trifle about her slipper.Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son
George Horace Lorimer
There is nothing more beautiful than the airy-fairy soap-bubble with its everchanging colors.How Two Boys Made Their Own Electrical Apparatus
Thomas M. (Thomas Matthew) St. John
- informal fanciful and unrealistican airy-fairy scheme
- delicate to the point of being insubstantial; light
C19: from Tennyson's poem Lillian (1830), where the central figure is described as "Airy, fairy Lillian"
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012