fairy

[fair-ee]
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: Disparaging and Offensive. a male homosexual.
adjective
3.
of or pertaining to fairies: fairy magic.
4.
of the nature of a fairy; fairylike.

Origin:
1250–1300; Middle English faierie < Old French: enchantment, fairyland. See fay1, -ery


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.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
fairy (ˈfɛərɪ)
 
n , 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
 
adj
4.  of or relating to a fairy or fairies
5.  resembling a fairy or fairies, esp in being enchanted or delicate
 
[C14: from Old French faerie fairyland, from feie fairy, from Latin Fāta the Fates; see fate, fay1]
 
'fairy-like
 
adj

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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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

fairy
c.1300, "enchantment, magic," from O.Fr. faerie "land of fairies, meeting of fairies, enchantment, magic," from fae "fay," from L. fata (pl.) "the Fates." In reference to a class of supernatural beings, the word is not used before mid-15c. 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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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

fairy

In addition to the idiom beginning with fairy, also see tooth fairy.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
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.
Idioms & Phrases
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