fairy

[fair-ee]
See more synonyms for fairy on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural fair·ies.
  1. (in folklore) one of a class of supernatural beings, generally conceived as having a diminutive human form and possessing magical powers with which they intervene in human affairs.
  2. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a male homosexual.
adjective
  1. of or relating to fairies: fairy magic.
  2. of the nature of a fairy; fairylike.
  3. fairy green.

Origin of fairy

1250–1300; Middle English faierie < Old French: enchantment, fairyland. See fay1, -ery

Synonyms for fairy

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1. pixy, leprechaun. Fairy, brownie, elf, sprite are terms for imaginary beings usually less than human size, thought to be helpful or harmful to people. Fairy is the most general name for such beings: a good fairy as a godmother; misadventures caused by an evil fairy. A brownie is a good-natured tiny being who appears usually at night to do household tasks: Perhaps the brownies will come and mow the lawn tonight. Elf suggests a young, mischievous or roguish fairy: That child is a perfect little elf. Sprite suggests a fairy of pleasing appearance, older than an elf, to be admired for ease and lightness of movement; it may, however, be impish or even hostile: a dainty sprite.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


British Dictionary definitions for fairier

fairy

noun plural fairies
  1. an imaginary supernatural being, usually represented in diminutive human form and characterized as clever, playful, and having magical powers
  2. slang a male homosexual
  3. away with the fairies informal out of touch with reality
adjective (prenominal)
  1. of or relating to a fairy or fairies
  2. resembling a fairy or fairies, esp in being enchanted or delicate
Derived Formsfairy-like, adjective

Word Origin for fairy

C14: from Old French faerie fairyland, from feie fairy, from Latin Fāta the Fates; see fate, fay 1
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 fairier

fairy

n.

c.1300, fairie, "enchantment, magic," from Old French faerie "land of fairies, meeting of fairies, enchantment, magic," from fae "fay," from Latin fata (plural) "the Fates," from PIE *bha- "to speak" (see fame (n.)).

As "a supernatural creature" from late 14c. [contra Tolkien; cf. "This maketh that ther been no fairyes" in "Wife of Bath's Tale"], perhaps via intermediate forms such as fairie knight "supernatural or legendary knight" (early 14c.). The diminutive winged beings so-called in children's stories seem to date from early 17c.

Yet I suspect that this flower-and-butterfly minuteness was also a product of "rationalization," which transformed the glamour of Elfland into mere finesse, and invisibility into a fragility that could hide in a cowslip or shrink behind a blade of grass. It seems to become fashionable soon after the great voyages had begun to make the world seem too narrow to hold both men and elves; when the magic land of Hy Breasail in the West had become the mere Brazils, the land of red-dye-wood. [J.R.R. Tolkien, "On Fairy-Stories," 1947]

The slang meaning "effeminate male homosexual" is first recorded 1895. Fairy ring is from 1590s. Fossil sea urchins found on the English downlands were called fairy loaves.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with fairier

fairy

In addition to the idiom beginning with fairy

  • fairy godmother

also see:

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