fain

1 of 2

adjective

1
a
: willing
he was very fain, for the young widow was "altogether fair and lovely … "Amy Kelly
b
: being obliged or constrained : compelled
Great Britain was fain to devote its whole energy … to the business of slaying and being slainG. M. Trevelyan
2
archaic : happy, pleased
3
archaic : inclined, desirous

fain

2 of 2

adverb

1
: with pleasure : gladly
a speech of fire that fain would blazeWilliam Shakespeare
2
a
: by preference
knew it, too, though he would fain not admit it publiclyJohn Lukacs
b
: by desire
I would fain consult youW. S. Gilbert

Examples of fain in a Sentence

Adjective during the Renaissance most men of science and the arts were fain to express their noblest thoughts in Latin, the lingua franca of the learned Adverb “I would fain not marry that suitor, my lord,” the princess pleaded

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English fagen, fayn, from Old English fægen; akin to Old English gefēon to rejoice, Old High German gifehan, Old Norse feginn happy

Adverb

Middle English fayn, derivative of fayn fain entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Adverb

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of fain was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near fain

Cite this Entry

“Fain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fain. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

fain

1 of 2 adjective
1
archaic : glad, happy
2
archaic : desirous
3

fain

2 of 2 adverb
1
: in a willing manner : gladly
2

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