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


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 forms

fai·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


/ (ˈfeɪnɪənt, French fɛneɑ̃) /


a lazy person; idler



Derived Forms

faineance 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