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8 Words That Are Older Than You Think

fainéant

[fey-nee-uh nt; French fe-ney-ahn] /ˈfeɪ ni ənt; French fɛ neɪˈɑ̃/
adjective
1.
Also, faineant
[fey-nee-uh nt] /ˈfeɪ ni ənt/ (Show IPA)
. idle; indolent.
noun, plural fainéants
[fey-nee-uh nts; French fe-ney-ahn] /ˈfeɪ ni ənts; French fɛ neɪˈɑ̃/ (Show IPA)
2.
an idler.
Origin
1610-1620
1610-20; < French, earlier fait-nient, literally, he does nothing, pseudo-etymological alteration of Old French faignant idler, noun use of present participle of se faindre to shirk. See feign, faint
Related forms
faineance
[fey-nee-uh ns] /ˈfeɪ ni əns/ (Show IPA),
noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for faineant

fainéant

/ˈfeɪnɪənt; French fɛneɑ̃/
noun
1.
a lazy person; idler
adjective
2.
indolent
Derived Forms
faineance, faineancy, noun
Word Origin
C17: from French, modification of earlier fait-nient (he) does nothing, by folk etymology from Old French faignant shirker, from faindre to be lazy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for faineant
adj.

1610s (n.), from French fainéant (16c.) "do-nothing," from fait, third person singular present tense of faire (see factitious) + néant "nothing" (cf. dolce far niente).

A French folk etymology of Old French faignant (14c.), present participle of faindre "to feign" (see feign). As an adjective, from 1855.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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