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90s Slang You Should Know


[feyn] /feɪn/
gladly; willingly:
He fain would accept.
content; willing:
They were fain to go.
Archaic. constrained; obliged:
He was fain to obey his Lord.
Archaic. glad; pleased.
Archaic. desirous; eager.
Origin of fain
before 900; Middle English; Old English fæg(e)n; cognate with Old Norse feginn happy; akin to fair1
Can be confused
fain, faint, feign, feint. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for fain
Historical Examples
  • You will find that your trust was not given in vain, for no one loves you as well as I, and no one is so fain to help you.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • I am fain to confess that your lordship is not far wrong, returned the bandit.

    Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf George W. M. Reynolds
  • I felt the mangling of the appetites Of the black panthers, of the savage kites, That were so fain to rend and pick my flesh.

    Silverpoints John Gray
  • fain would I myself lend my energies and talents to such an undertaking.

    Fibble, D. D. Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb
  • But when we drew near I was fain to look on one of the two ladies who still sat on their horses waiting for the earl's pleasure.

    King Olaf's Kinsman Charles Whistler
  • I was fain for the struggle, and I never doubted of its end.

    Cleopatra H. Rider Haggard
  • And thus he went on, sputtering out such a parcel of big words, that I was fain to ask him what his profession was?

  • Field was fain to be satisfied, though he was a little disappointed too.

    The Slave of Silence Fred M. White
  • fain would we ask you longer to tarry—but it is otherwise determined, and we must comply.

    Nathan Hale Jean Christie Root
  • Beatrice was fain to admit that she had not noticed anything of the kind.

    The Slave of Silence Fred M. White
British Dictionary definitions for fain


(usually with would) (archaic) willingly; gladly: she would fain be dead
  1. willing or eager
  2. compelled
Word Origin
Old English fægen; related to Old Norse fegiun happy, Old High German gifehan to be glad, Gothic fahehs joy; see fawn²
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
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Word Origin and History for fain

Old English fægen, fagen "glad, cheerful, happy, joyful, rejoicing," from a common Germanic root (cf. Old Saxon fagan, Old Norse feginn "glad," Old High German faginon, Gothic faginon "to rejoice"), perhaps from PIE *pek- "to make pretty." As an adverb, from c.1200.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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