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or feints

[feynts] /feɪnts/
noun, (used with a plural verb)
the impure spirit produced in the first and last stages of the distillation of whiskey.
Compare foreshots.
Origin of faints
1735-45; noun use (in plural) of faint (adj.)


[feynt] /feɪnt/
adjective, fainter, faintest.
lacking brightness, vividness, clearness, loudness, strength, etc.:
a faint light; a faint color; a faint sound.
feeble or slight:
faint resistance; faint praise; a faint resemblance.
feeling weak, dizzy, or exhausted; about to lose consciousness:
faint with hunger.
lacking courage; cowardly; timorous:
Faint heart never won fair maid.
Law. unfounded:
a faint action.
verb (used without object)
to lose consciousness temporarily.
to lose brightness.
Archaic. to grow weak; lose spirit or courage.
a temporary loss of consciousness resulting from a decreased flow of blood to the brain; a swoon:
to fall into a faint.
1250-1300; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French, past participle of faindre, variant of feindre to feign
Related forms
fainter, noun
faintingly, adverb
faintish, adjective
faintishness, noun
faintly, adverb
faintness, noun
overfaint, adjective
overfaintly, adverb
overfaintness, noun
unfainting, adjective
unfaintly, adverb
Can be confused
fain, faint, feign, feint.
1. indistinct, ill-defined, dim, faded, dull, 2. faltering, irresolute, weak. 3. languid. 4. pusillanimous, fearful, timid, dastardly. 6. pass out, black out. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for faints
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He sees the vision of hell, falls down on the ground like a plantain tree blown by a tempest, and faints.

  • If a man's pain exceeds a certain amount, he faints, and so gets relief.

    Elsie Venner Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • He is never proof against tears, so sends for their mother, who falls into his arms and faints.

    The Tragedy of St. Helena Walter Runciman
  • My dear Hiram,” cried Mrs. Otis, “what can we do with a woman who faints?

    Humorous Ghost Stories Dorothy Scarborough
  • She faints in the midst of all those dear ones, so kind and loving.

    Gladys, the Reaper Anne Beale
  • When he faints or falls on the ground, he is raised up and urged to move on.

  • Rosa faints in going up-stairs, and is carefully carried to her room and laid down on her bed.

    The Mystery of Edwin Drood Charles Dickens
  • In one of his faints, Robert undressed him and got him into bed.

    Robert Falconer George MacDonald
  • Then, slowly sinking across the heaped-up cushions, she faints.

    For Love of the King Oscar Wilde
British Dictionary definitions for faints


plural noun
a variant spelling of feints


lacking clarity, brightness, volume, etc: a faint noise
lacking conviction or force; weak: faint praise
feeling dizzy or weak as if about to lose consciousness
without boldness or courage; timid (esp in the combination faint-hearted)
not the faintest, not the faintest idea, not the faintest notion, no idea whatsoever: I haven't the faintest
verb (intransitive)
to lose consciousness, esp momentarily, as through weakness
(archaic or poetic) to fail or become weak, esp in hope or courage
a sudden spontaneous loss of consciousness, usually momentary, caused by an insufficient supply of blood to the brain Technical name syncope
Derived Forms
fainter, noun
faintingly, adverb
faintish, adjective
faintishness, noun
faintly, adverb
faintness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from faindre to be idle
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 faints



c.1300, "wanting in courage," now mostly in faint-hearted (mid-15c.), from Old French feint "soft, weak, sluggish," past participle of feindre "hesitate, falter, be indolent, show weakness, avoid one's duty by pretending" (see feign). Sense of "weak, feeble" is early 14c. Meaning "producing a feeble impression upon the senses" is from 1650s.


"grow weak" (c.1300); "lose heart" (mid-14c.); see faint (adj.). Sense of "swoon" is c.1400. Related: Fainted; fainting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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faints in Medicine

faint (fānt)
An abrupt, usually brief loss of consciousness; an attack of syncope. adj.
Extremely weak; threatened with syncope.

faint v.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Idioms and Phrases with faints
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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