fey

play
adjective \ˈfā\

Definition of fey

  1. 1a chiefly Scotland :  fated to die :  doomedb :  marked by a foreboding of death or calamity another and lesser man … gave a fey lonely warning — Hodding Carter

  2. 2a :  able to see into the future :  visionary Not being fey, he never suspected what it would lead to.b :  marked by an otherworldly air or attitude she had that half shy, half fey smile and that birdlike perkiness — A. G. Ogdenc :  crazy, touched

  3. 3a :  excessively refined :  precious a fey, self-indulgent dandyb :  quaintly unconventional :  campy … audiences howl at her off-center delivery of fey folk songs and quaint special material. — Howard Teichmann

feyly

adverb

feyness

noun

fey was our Word of the Day on 05/01/2017. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of fey from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fey'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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

Learn More about fey


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).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to bring about or cause (something)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Emoji Quiz

  • emoji-the-quiz
  • What phase of the moon is this: 🌖 ?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!