[ fair-ee ]
See synonyms for: fairyfairierfairiestfairies on Thesaurus.com

noun,plural fair·ies orfae for 1.
  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 gay man.

  1. of or relating to fairies: fairy magic.

  2. of the nature of a fairy; fairylike.

Origin of fairy

First recorded in 1300–1350; Middle English faierie, fairie, from Old French: literally, “enchantment, fairyland, fairy folk”; see origin at fay1, -ery

synonym study For fairy

1. 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. Fairy is also used interchangeably with faerie and sometimes has the plural form fae. While both fairy and faerie have been in use since the 14th or 15th century, the -ae- spelling is resurgent in fantasy writing, and the plural fae is now sometimes used as a singular: the player character is the only one who can permanently kill a fae. Modern fae are often conceived as being larger than traditional folklore fairies, and can have either kind or malicious intentions.
A brownie, by contrast, 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.

Other words for fairy

Words Nearby fairy

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use fairy in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for fairy


/ (ˈfɛərɪ) /

nounplural 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

  1. away with the fairies informal out of touch with reality

  1. of or relating to a fairy or fairies

  2. resembling a fairy or fairies, esp in being enchanted or delicate

Origin of fairy

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

Derived forms of fairy

  • fairy-like, adjective

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with 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.