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1

fainéant

play
noun, fai·né·ant \fā-nā-ˈäⁿ\

Definition of fainéant

plural fainéants play \-ˈäⁿ(z)\

  1. :  an irresponsible idler



Origin of fainéant

French, from Middle French fait-nient, literally, does nothing, by folk etymology from faignant, from present participle of faindre, feindre to feign


First Known Use: 1619


2

fainéant

play
adjective fai·né·ant \fā-nā-ˈäⁿ\

Definition of fainéant

  1. :  idle and ineffectual :  indolent



Did You Know?

You've probably guessed that fainéant was borrowed from French; it derives from fait-nient, which literally means "does nothing," and ultimately traces back to the verb faindre, or feindre, meaning "to feign." (The English word feign is also descended from this verb, as are faint and feint.) Fainéant first appeared in print in the early 17th century as a noun meaning "an irresponsible idler," and by 1854 it was also being used as an adjective. As its foreignness suggests, fainéant tends to be used when the context calls for a fancier or more elegant word than inactive or sluggish.

1854

First Known Use of fainéant

1854

Variants of fainéant

or faineant play \ˈfā-nē-ənt\

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