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.

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").

faint (n.)

c. 1300, "faintness, faint-heartedness," from faint (adj.). From 1808 as "a swoon."

updated on May 23, 2017

Definitions of faint from WordNet
faint (adj.)
indistinctly understood or felt or perceived;
a faint clue to the origin of the mystery
faint (adj.)
deficient in magnitude; barely perceptible; lacking clarity or brightness or loudness etc;
a faint outline
the wan sun cast faint shadows
a faint hissing sound
the faint light of a distant candle
a faint aroma
Synonyms: weak
faint (adj.)
lacking clarity or distinctness;
only a faint recollection
Synonyms: dim / shadowy / vague / wispy
faint (adj.)
lacking strength or vigor;
faint resistance
damning with faint praise
Synonyms: feeble
faint (adj.)
weak and likely to lose consciousness;
was sick and faint from hunger
suddenly felt faint from the pain
Synonyms: light / swooning / light-headed / lightheaded
faint (adj.)
lacking conviction or boldness or courage;
faint heart ne'er won fair lady
Synonyms: fainthearted / timid / faint-hearted
faint (v.)
pass out from weakness, physical or emotional distress due to a loss of blood supply to the brain;
Synonyms: conk / swoon / pass out
faint (n.)
a spontaneous loss of consciousness caused by insufficient blood to the brain;
Synonyms: swoon / syncope / deliquium
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.