Etymology
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fain (adj.)

Old English fægen, fagen "glad, cheerful, happy, joyful, rejoicing," from a common Germanic root (cognates: Old Saxon fagan, Old Norse feginn "glad," Old High German faginon, Gothic faginon "to rejoice"), perhaps from PIE *pek- (1) "to make pretty." Often it means "glad" in a relative sense, "content to accept when something better is unobtainable." As an adverb, from c. 1200. Related: Fainly. Compare fawn (v.).

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fawn (v.)

Middle English faunen, from Old English fagnian "rejoice, be glad, exult, applaud," from fægen "glad" (see fain); used in Middle English to refer to expressions of delight, especially a dog wagging its tail (early 14c.), hence "court favor, grovel, act slavishly" (early 15c.). Related: Fawned; fawning.

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feign (v.)
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.
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faint-hearted (adj.)
"cowardly, timorous," c. 1400, from faint (adj.) + -hearted. Related: Faint-heartedly; faint-heartedness; faint-heart.
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faint (n.)
c. 1300, "faintness, faint-heartedness," from faint (adj.). From 1808 as "a swoon."
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faineant (adj.)
1855; earlier as a noun (1610s); from French fainéant (16c.) "do-nothing," from fait, third person singular of faire "to do" (from Latin facere "to make, do," from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put") + néant "nothing" (compare dolce far niente). According to OED this is a French folk-etymology alteration of Old French faignant (14c.), present participle of faindre "to feign" (see feign). Applied in French to the late Merovingian kings, puppets in the hands of the palace mayors. Related: Faineance "the habit of doing nothing."
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faint (v.)
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").
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faintly (adv.)
c. 1300, "dispiritedly, timidly, half-heartedly;" early 14c. "feebly, wearily, without vigor;" from faint (adj.) + -ly (2). Meaning "indistinctly" is from 1580s. Also in Middle English, "deceitfully, hypocritically, falsely" (mid-14c.).
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faint (adj.)
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.
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