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fainéant Line breaks: fai|né¦ant
Pronunciation: /ˈfeɪneɪɒ̃/

Definition of fainéant in English:


An idle or ineffective person.
Example sentences
  • In Merovingian France in the Dark Ages the kings became known as les rois fainéants - the idle or lazy kings - and gradually lost power to the Mayors of the Palace, who eventually took the crown themselves.
  • The result could only be to weaken a legislature already fainéant enough, and further to accentuate that excess of executive power Furet had termed a national pathology.
  • Vulgar yet pretentious, tough yet incompetent, cynical, worldly and fainéant, the Berton brothers, as their name suggests, would have been better running a circus than a military school.


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Early 17th century: from French, from fait 'does' + néant 'nothing'.

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