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fairy

[fair-ee] /ˈfɛər i/
noun, plural fairies.
1.
(in folklore) one of a class of supernatural beings, generally conceived as having a diminutive human form and possessing magical powers with which they intervene in human affairs.
2.
Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a male homosexual.
adjective
3.
of or relating to fairies:
fairy magic.
4.
of the nature of a fairy; fairylike.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English faierie < Old French: enchantment, fairyland. See fay1, -ery
Synonyms
1. pixy, leprechaun. Fairy, brownie, elf, sprite are terms for imaginary beings usually less than human size, thought to be helpful or harmful to people. Fairy is the most general name for such beings: a good fairy as a godmother; misadventures caused by an evil fairy. A brownie is a good-natured tiny being who appears usually at night to do household tasks: Perhaps the brownies will come and mow the lawn tonight. Elf suggests a young, mischievous or roguish fairy: That child is a perfect little elf. Sprite suggests a fairy of pleasing appearance, older than an elf, to be admired for ease and lightness of movement; it may, however, be impish or even hostile: a dainty sprite.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for fairy
  • fairy tales helped me understand the suffering of my patients.
  • It began in myth and has developed through centuries of fairy stories.
  • Once upon a time some characters got tired of staring at the same old fairy tales.
  • But each fairy is attracted only to a particular color.
  • Fractured fairy tales pepper an uproarious take on the bedtime book.
  • Globe tulips or fairy lanterns have nodding flowers, the petals turning inward to form a globe.
  • Take a tour of the evil fairy world, and get acquainted with its phantasmagorical critters, in the gallery above.
  • In short, it's a pure appeal to the confidence fairy.
  • Teachers rather tell fairy stories and kids act them out and paint them and that sort of thing.
  • Let's not get mired in some airy fairy philosophical discussion.
British Dictionary definitions for fairy

fairy

/ˈfɛərɪ/
noun (pl) fairies
1.
an imaginary supernatural being, usually represented in diminutive human form and characterized as clever, playful, and having magical powers
2.
(slang) a male homosexual
3.
(informal) away with the fairies, out of touch with reality
adjective (prenominal)
4.
of or relating to a fairy or fairies
5.
resembling a fairy or fairies, esp in being enchanted or delicate
Derived Forms
fairy-like, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French faerie fairyland, from feie fairy, from Latin Fāta the Fates; see fate, fay1
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 fairy
n.

c.1300, fairie, "enchantment, magic," from Old French faerie "land of fairies, meeting of fairies, enchantment, magic," from fae "fay," from Latin fata (plural) "the Fates," from PIE *bha- "to speak" (see fame (n.)).

As "a supernatural creature" from late 14c. [contra Tolkien; cf. "This maketh that ther been no fairyes" in "Wife of Bath's Tale"], perhaps via intermediate forms such as fairie knight "supernatural or legendary knight" (early 14c.). The diminutive winged beings so-called in children's stories seem to date from early 17c.

Yet I suspect that this flower-and-butterfly minuteness was also a product of "rationalization," which transformed the glamour of Elfland into mere finesse, and invisibility into a fragility that could hide in a cowslip or shrink behind a blade of grass. It seems to become fashionable soon after the great voyages had begun to make the world seem too narrow to hold both men and elves; when the magic land of Hy Breasail in the West had become the mere Brazils, the land of red-dye-wood. [J.R.R. Tolkien, "On Fairy-Stories," 1947]
The slang meaning "effeminate male homosexual" is first recorded 1895. Fairy ring is from 1590s. Fossil sea urchins found on the English downlands were called fairy loaves.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for fairy

fairy

noun

A male homosexual, esp an effeminate one; fag, queer: Too bad you weren't a fairy (1895+)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with fairy

fairy

In addition to the idiom beginning with fairy also see: tooth fairy
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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