• synonyms


[fey-nee-uh nt; French fe-ney-ahn]
See more synonyms for fainéant on Thesaurus.com
  1. Also fai·ne·ant [fey-nee-uh nt] /ˈfeɪ ni ənt/. idle; indolent.
Show More
noun, plural fai·né·ants [fey-nee-uh nts; French fe-ney-ahn] /ˈfeɪ ni ənts; French fɛ neɪˈɑ̃/.
  1. an idler.
Show More

Origin of fainéant

1610–20; < French, earlier fait-nient, literally, he does nothing, pseudo-etymological alteration of Old French faignant idler, noun use of present participle of se faindre to shirk. See feign, faint
Related formsfai·ne·ance [fey-nee-uh ns] /ˈfeɪ ni əns/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for faineance

sloth, lethargy, negligence, apathy, weariness, inertia, inertness, slackness, dormancy, stolidity, tardiness, heaviness, idleness, dullness, remissness, listlessness, slothfulness, inactivity, laxness, slowness

British Dictionary definitions for faineance


  1. a lazy person; idler
Show More
  1. indolent
Show More
Derived Formsfaineance or faineancy, noun

Word Origin for fainéant

C17: from French, modification of earlier fait-nient (he) does nothing, by folk etymology from Old French faignant shirker, from faindre to be lazy
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 faineance



1610s (n.), from French fainéant (16c.) "do-nothing," from fait, third person singular present tense of faire (see factitious) + néant "nothing" (cf. dolce far niente).

A French folk etymology of Old French faignant (14c.), present participle of faindre "to feign" (see feign). As an adjective, from 1855.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper