adjective, fainter, faintest.
lacking brightness, vividness, clearness, loudness, strength, etc.: a faint light; a faint color; a faint sound.
feeble or slight: faint resistance; faint praise; a faint resemblance.
feeling weak, dizzy, or exhausted; about to lose consciousness: faint with hunger.
lacking courage; cowardly; timorous: Faint heart never won fair maid.
Law. unfounded: a faint action.
verb (used without object)
to lose consciousness temporarily.
to lose brightness.
Archaic. to grow weak; lose spirit or courage.
a temporary loss of consciousness resulting from a decreased flow of blood to the brain; a swoon: to fall into a faint.

1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French, past participle of faindre, variant of feindre to feign

fainter, noun
faintingly, adverb
faintish, adjective
faintishness, noun
faintly, adverb
faintness, noun
overfaint, adjective
overfaintly, adverb
overfaintness, noun
unfainting, adjective
unfaintly, adverb

fain, faint, feign, feint.

1. indistinct, ill-defined, dim, faded, dull, 2. faltering, irresolute, weak. 3. languid. 4. pusillanimous, fearful, timid, dastardly. 6. pass out, black out.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
faint (feɪnt)
1.  lacking clarity, brightness, volume, etc: a faint noise
2.  lacking conviction or force; weak: faint praise
3.  feeling dizzy or weak as if about to lose consciousness
4.  without boldness or courage; timid (esp in the combination faint-hearted)
5.  not the faintest, not the faintest idea, not the faintest notion no idea whatsoever: I haven't the faintest
6.  to lose consciousness, esp momentarily, as through weakness
7.  archaic, poetic or to fail or become weak, esp in hope or courage
8.  Technical name: syncope a sudden spontaneous loss of consciousness, usually momentary, caused by an insufficient supply of blood to the brain
[C13: from Old French, from faindre to be idle]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, "wanting in courage," now mostly in faint-hearted (mid-15c.), from O.Fr. faint "soft, weak, sluggish," pp. of faindre "avoid one's duty by pretending" (see feign). Sense of "weak, feeble" is early 14c. Meaning "producing a feeble impression upon the senses" is from
1650s. The verb originally meant "to lose heart" (mid-14c.); sense of "swoon" is c.1400. Related: Fainted; fainting.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

faint (fānt)
An abrupt, usually brief loss of consciousness; an attack of syncope. adj.
Extremely weak; threatened with syncope.

faint v.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see damn with faint praise.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
These are really faint lights which many mistaken for light pollution from
  distant towns beyond their local horizon.
The effect is handsome, but it cannot disguise the fact these are not paintings
  for the faint hearted.
In the faint predawn light, fallen leaves crunched underfoot.
Others offer the faint praise that he will be a better prime minister than
  opposition leader.
Idioms & Phrases
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