c. 1300, "enfeebled; wearied, exhausted," from Old French faint, feint "false, deceitful; sham, artificial; weak, faint, lazy, indolent, cowardly," past participle of feindre "hesitate, falter, be indolent, show weakness, avoid one's duty by pretending," from Latin fingere "to touch, handle; devise; fabricate, alter, change" (from PIE root *dheigh- "to form, build"). Also from c. 1300 as "deceitful; unreliable; false." Meaning "wanting in spirit or courage, cowardly" (a sense now mostly encountered in faint-hearted) is from early 14c. From early 15c. of actions, functions, colors, etc., "weak, feeble, poor." Meaning "producing a feeble impression upon the senses" is from 1650s.
c. 1300, "grow weak, become enfeebled," also "lack courage or spirit, be faint-hearted," and "to pretend, feign;" from faint (adj.). Sense of "swoon, lose consciousness" is from c. 1400. Also used in Middle English of the fading of colors, flowers, etc. Related: Fainted; fainting. For Chaucer and Shakespeare, also a transitive verb ("It faints me").
A 17c. respelling of fain, fein, from Middle English feinen, feynen "disguise or conceal (deceit, falsehood, one's real meaning); dissemble, make false pretenses, lie; pretend to be" (c. 1300), from Old French feindre "hesitate, falter; be indolent; lack courage; show weakness," also transitive, "to shape, fashion; depict, represent; feign, pretend; imitate" (12c.), from Latin fingere "to touch, handle; devise; fabricate, alter, change" (from PIE root *dheigh- "to form, build").
From late 14c. as "simulate (an action, an emotion, etc.)." Related: Feigned; feigning. The older spelling is that of faint, feint, but this word acquired a -g- in imitation of the French present participle stem feign- and the Latin verb.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to form, build."
It forms all or part of: configure; dairy; dey (n.1) "female servant, housekeeper, maid;" disfigure; dough; effigy; faineant; faint; feign; feint; fictile; fiction; fictitious; figment; figure; figurine; lady; paradise; prefigure; thixotropy; transfigure.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit dehah "body," literally "that which is formed," dih- "to besmear;" Greek teikhos "wall;" Latin fingere "to form, fashion," figura "a shape, form, figure;" Old Irish digen "firm, solid," originally "kneaded into a compact mass;" Gothic deigan "to smear," Old English dag, Gothic daigs "dough."
late 14c., pusillanimite, "timidity, faint-heartedness, lack of the spirit of courage or fortitude," from Old French pusillanimité (14c.) and directly from Church Latin pusillanimitatem (nominative pusillanimitas) "faint-heartedness," from Latin pusillanimis "faint-hearted, having little courage" (see pusillanimous).