adj. faint·er, faint·est
a. Done with little strength or vigor; feeble: a faint attempt to apologize.
b. So weak as to be difficult to perceive; a faint light in the distance; a faint echo.
c. Lacking clarity or distinctness: a faint recollection.
d. Small in degree or amount; meager: faint chance of getting a raise.
2. Lacking conviction, boldness, or courage; timid: a tourist who is faint at heart.
3. Likely to fall into a faint; dizzy and weak: felt faint for a moment.
An abrupt, usually brief loss of consciousness, generally associated with failure of normal blood circulation.
intr.v. faint·ed, faint·ing, faints
1. To fall into a usually brief state of unconsciousness.
2. Archaic To weaken in purpose or spirit.
[Middle English, deceitful, cowardly, from Old French, past participle of feindre, to feign; see FEIGN.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.