Definition of faint in English:

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Pronunciation: /feɪnt/


1(Of a sight, smell, or sound) barely perceptible: the faint murmur of voices
More example sentences
  • I lie there listening for a few minutes and, just as I'm at the point of giving up and going back to sleep I hear it again - a faint noise, barely audible at all.
  • As I get closer, there's a faint gleam behind the stained-glass windows of the 13th-century abbey.
  • I just lay there listening to the faint beat of his heart.
indistinct, vague, unclear, indefinite, ill-defined, obscure, imperceptible, hardly noticeable, hardly detectable, unobtrusive;
pale, light, faded, bleached
quiet, muted, muffled, stifled, subdued;
feeble, weak, thin, whispered, murmured, indistinct, scarcely audible, scarcely perceptible, hard to hear, hard to make out, vague;
low, soft, gentle
1.1(Of a hope or chance) possible but unlikely; slight: there is a faint chance that the enemy may flee
More example sentences
  • Reports last week suggested that there is now a faint hope of an end to these absurdities.
  • I always have this faint hope that I might stumble across some great find at the flea market.
  • And there's a touch of faint hope in Mr Ward's comment that the bank was considering appealing.
slight, slender, slim, small, tiny, minimal, negligible, remote, distant, vague, unlikely, improbable, doubtful, dubious, far-fetched;
poor, outside
informal minuscule
rare exiguous
1.2Lacking conviction or enthusiasm; feeble: she sent him a faint answering smile
More example sentences
  • The acquisition of Edmark was greeted with faint enthusiasm when it was first announced.
  • Hundreds of mourners gather daily, shedding torrents of tears and managing a few faint smiles as they remember their loved ones.
  • They received the faint answer of ‘yes’ and their fears were assuaged; if only for a moment.
unenthusiastic, half-hearted, weak, feeble, low-key
informal wishy-washy
2 [predicative] Feeling weak and dizzy and close to losing consciousness: the heat made him feel faint
More example sentences
  • When a panic attack strikes, most likely your heart pounds and you may feel sweaty, weak, faint, or dizzy.
  • My hands were trembling, I almost reached for the phone to call Nick because I felt so faint and dizzy.
  • The wine rarely loses its faint iodine background flavour and is often high in alcohol.
dizzy, giddy, light-headed, muzzy, weak, weak at the knees, unsteady, shaky, wobbly, off-balance, reeling
informal woozy, woolly, woolly-headed, dopey, trembly, all of a quiver
rare vertiginous


[no object]
1Lose consciousness for a short time because of a temporarily insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain: I fainted from loss of blood
More example sentences
  • Get the person to lie down on his or her back and elevate the feet higher than the head to keep adequate blood flow to the brain, which will prevent fainting.
  • It was concluded that the pilot had fainted or lost his horizon.
  • Geneva was beginning to faint from lack of oxygen, and when he let go of her, she fell to the floor, desperately trying to see who was fighting the men to save her.
pass out, lose consciousness, fall unconscious, black out, collapse
informal flake out, keel over, conk out, zonk out, drop, go out, go out like a light
literary swoon
1.1 archaic Grow weak or feeble; decline: the fires were fainting there
More example sentences
  • The flame of the soldiers' fire grew faint, white mists rose in the fields, the cannon in the forest ceased and the birds began.


[in singular]
A sudden loss of consciousness: she hit the floor in a dead faint
More example sentences
  • If I didn't find food soon I was going to collapse in a dead faint.
  • Suddenly Tina let out a high-pitched wail, jumped from her cot and collapsed in a dead faint onto the floor.
  • As soon as the kiss ended, Jane collapsed in a dead faint on the front steps.
blackout, fainting fit, loss of consciousness, collapse;
literary swoon
Medicine  syncope


not have the faintest

informal Have no idea: I haven’t the faintest what it means
More example sentences
  • Iago's final silence was a speaking one; I don't have the faintest idea how to read Hermione's silence.
  • I don't have the faintest idea who Michelle is talking about here.
  • Believe me, we want to ‘talk’ with you, but we don't have the faintest idea how to accomplish that.



Pronunciation: /ˈfeɪntnəs/
Example sentences
  • The hijacker gradually freed 10 passengers after stopping, including a man suffering from faintness who police initially said had escaped.
  • The high signal to noise ratio and the faintness of signal captured by these devices are analogous to the hazy, faint pinhole images.
  • Vomiting and faintness were reported among those who tried to work without masks when cleaning up the beaches.


Middle English (in the sense 'feigned', also 'feeble, cowardly', surviving in faint heart): from Old French faint, past participle of faindre (see feign). Compare with feint1.

  • The word faint is related to feign, both coming from French faindre and initially used in the original French sense of ‘feigned, simulated’, from Latin fingere ‘to form, contrive’ also the source of fiction (Late Middle English) and figment (Late Middle English). Another early meaning was ‘cowardly’, a sense now preserved only in the proverb faint heart never won fair lady. The sense ‘hardly perceptible’ dates from the mid 17th century. Feint (late 17th century) originally used in fencing for a deceptive blow is from the same source, while the mid 19th-century use of feint for lightly lined paper is simply a respelling of faint.

Words that rhyme with faint

acquaint, ain't, attaint, complaint, constraint, distraint, feint, paint, plaint, quaint, restraint, saint, taint

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: faint

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