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faint

[feynt]
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adjective, faint·er, faint·est.
  1. lacking brightness, vividness, clearness, loudness, strength, etc.: a faint light; a faint color; a faint sound.
  2. feeble or slight: faint resistance; faint praise; a faint resemblance.
  3. feeling weak, dizzy, or exhausted; about to lose consciousness: faint with hunger.
  4. lacking courage; cowardly; timorous: Faint heart never won fair maid.
  5. Law. unfounded: a faint action.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to lose consciousness temporarily.
  2. to lose brightness.
  3. Archaic. to grow weak; lose spirit or courage.
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noun
  1. a temporary loss of consciousness resulting from a decreased flow of blood to the brain; a swoon: to fall into a faint.
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Origin of faint

1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French, past participle of faindre, variant of feindre to feign
Related formsfaint·er, nounfaint·ing·ly, adverbfaint·ish, adjectivefaint·ish·ness, nounfaint·ly, adverbfaint·ness, nouno·ver·faint, adjectiveo·ver·faint·ly, adverbo·ver·faint·ness, nounun·faint·ing, adjectiveun·faint·ly, adverb
Can be confusedfain faint feign feint

Synonyms

See more synonyms for faint on Thesaurus.com
1. indistinct, ill-defined, dim, faded, dull, 2. faltering, irresolute, weak. 3. languid. 4. pusillanimous, fearful, timid, dastardly. 6. pass out, black out.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for faintness

Historical Examples

  • Its deplorable peculiarity was, that it was the faintness of solitude and disuse.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • As time went on my sensations of illness and faintness increased.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • Sometimes I had sensations of faintness and exhaustion for which I could not account.

  • The girl leaned forward, thrusting—as if by an effort—some of her faintness from her.

    Mistress Wilding

    Rafael Sabatini

  • And a faintness, almost a feeling of despair, came over her.

    Kristy's Rainy Day Picnic

    Olive Thorne Miller


British Dictionary definitions for faintness

faint

adjective
  1. lacking clarity, brightness, volume, etca faint noise
  2. lacking conviction or force; weakfaint praise
  3. feeling dizzy or weak as if about to lose consciousness
  4. without boldness or courage; timid (esp in the combination faint-hearted)
  5. not the faintest, not the faintest idea or not the faintest notion no idea whatsoeverI haven't the faintest
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verb (intr)
  1. to lose consciousness, esp momentarily, as through weakness
  2. archaic, or poetic to fail or become weak, esp in hope or courage
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noun
  1. a sudden spontaneous loss of consciousness, usually momentary, caused by an insufficient supply of blood to the brainTechnical name: syncope
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Derived Formsfainter, nounfaintingly, adverbfaintish, adjectivefaintishness, nounfaintly, adverbfaintness, noun

Word Origin

C13: from Old French, from faindre to be idle
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 faintness

n.

late 14c., from faint (adj.) + -ness.

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faint

adj.

c.1300, "wanting in courage," now mostly in faint-hearted (mid-15c.), from Old French feint "soft, weak, sluggish," past participle of feindre "hesitate, falter, be indolent, show weakness, avoid one's duty by pretending" (see feign). Sense of "weak, feeble" is early 14c. Meaning "producing a feeble impression upon the senses" is from 1650s.

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faint

v.

"grow weak" (c.1300); "lose heart" (mid-14c.); see faint (adj.). Sense of "swoon" is c.1400. Related: Fainted; fainting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

faintness in Medicine

faint

(fānt)
n.
  1. An abrupt, usually brief loss of consciousness; an attack of syncope.
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adj.
  1. Extremely weak; threatened with syncope.
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Related formsfaint v.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with faintness

faint

see damn with faint praise.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.