fainéant

[ fey-nee-uh nt; French fe-ney-ahn ]
/ ˈfeɪ ni ənt; French fɛ neɪˈɑ̃ /
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adjective

Also fai·ne·ant [fey-nee-uh nt] /ˈfeɪ ni ənt/. idle; indolent.

noun, plural fai·né·ants [fey-nee-uh nts; French fe-ney-ahn] /ˈfeɪ ni ənts; French fɛ neɪˈɑ̃/.

an idler.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for faineant

  • Yours is the faineant spirit of the decadent, masquerading in the garb of a sham primitivism.

    A Lost Leader|E. Phillips Oppenheim

British Dictionary definitions for faineant

fainéant

/ (ˈfeɪnɪənt, French fɛneɑ̃) /

noun

a lazy person; idler

adjective

indolent
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 faineant

faineant


adj.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper