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[fey-bee-uh n]
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  1. seeking victory by delay and harassment rather than by a decisive battle as in the manner of Fabius Maximus: Fabian policy.
  2. of or relating to the Fabian Society.
  1. a member of or sympathizer with the Fabian Society.

Origin of Fabian1

First recorded in 1590–1600, Fabian is from the Latin word Fabiānus


[fey-bee-uh n]
  1. Saint,died a.d. 250, pope 236–250.
  2. a male given name.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fabian

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "He was one of the first members of the Fabian Society," Gilbert used to say proudly.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • It was they who induced the others to join the Fabian Society.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • Fabian describes the archers dress at the battle of Agincourt.

    King Henry the Fifth

    William Shakespeare

  • Had he been slain, or was he waiting in chains to grace the Fabian triumph?

    The Lion's Brood

    Duffield Osborne

  • These Fabian tactics do not mean that the Sennussi are idle.

    The New World of Islam

    Lothrop Stoddard

British Dictionary definitions for fabian


  1. of, relating to, or resembling the delaying tactics of the Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus; cautious; circumspect
  1. a member of or sympathizer with the Fabian Society

Word Origin

C19: from Latin Fabiānus of Fabius
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

Word Origin and History for fabian


"socialist," from Fabian Society, founded in Britain 1884, named for Quintus Fabius Maximus (surnamed Cunctator "the Delayer"), the cautious tactician who opposed Hannibal in the Second Punic War. The Fabians sought to draw a distinction between their slow-going tactics and those of anarchists and communists. The Latin gens name is possibly from faba "a bean."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper