Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

fey

play
adjective \ˈfā\

Definition of fey

  1. 1 a chiefly Scottish :  fated to die :  doomed b :  marked by a foreboding of death or calamity

  2. 2 a :  able to see into the future :  visionary b :  marked by an otherworldly air or attitude c :  crazy, touched

  3. 3 a :  excessively refined :  precious b :  quaintly unconventional :  campy

feyly

adverb

feyness

noun


Did You Know?

Fey is a word that defies its own meaning, since it has yet to even come close to the brink of death after being in our language for well over 800 years. In Old and Middle English it meant "feeble" or "sickly." Those meanings turned out to be fey themselves, but the word lived on in senses related to death, and because a wild or elated state of mind was once believed to portend death, other senses arose from these. The word fay, meaning "fairy" or "elf," may also have had an influence on some senses of "fey." Not until the late 20th century did the word's most recent meanings, "precious" and "campy," find their way onto the pages of the dictionary.

Origin and Etymology of fey

Middle English feye, from Old English fǣge; akin to Old High German feigi doomed and perhaps to Old English fāh hostile, outlawed — more at foe


First Known Use: before 12th century


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up fey? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

at a gallop

Get Word of the Day daily email!