1. content; willing: They were fain to go.
  2. Archaic. constrained; obliged: He was fain to obey his Lord.
  3. Archaic. glad; pleased.
  4. 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 confusedfain faint feign feint
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for fainer

eager, game, inclined, minded, prepared, ready

British Dictionary definitions for fainer


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

Word Origin and History for fainer



Old English fægen, fagen "glad, cheerful, happy, joyful, rejoicing," from a common Germanic root (cf. Old Saxon fagan, Old Norse feginn "glad," Old High German faginon, Gothic faginon "to rejoice"), perhaps from PIE *pek- "to make pretty." As an adverb, from c.1200.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper