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airy-fairy

[air-ee-fair-ee]
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adjective
  1. Informal.
    1. delicate or lovely: an airy-fairy actress; an airy-fairy nightgown.
    2. not based on reality or concerned with mundane affairs; unrealistic: airy-fairy ideas about spending a fortune that isn't even his.
  2. Slang. effeminate; swishy.
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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

Historical Examples

  • 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


British Dictionary definitions for airy-fairy

airy-fairy

adjective
  1. informal fanciful and unrealistican airy-fairy scheme
  2. delicate to the point of being insubstantial; light
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Word Origin

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