[fey-nee-uh nt; French fe-ney-ahn]


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.

Nearby words

  1. fainting,
  2. faintly,
  3. faintness,
  4. faints,
  5. fainty,
  6. fair,
  7. fair and square,
  8. fair ball,
  9. fair catch,
  10. fair copy

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



a lazy person; idler


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



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