[ 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fain

British Dictionary definitions for fain


/ (feɪn) /


(usually with would) archaic willingly; gladlyshe would fain be dead


  1. willing or eager
  2. compelled

Word Origin for fain

Old English fægen; related to Old Norse fegiun happy, Old High German gifehan to be glad, Gothic fahehs joy; see fawn ²
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