a. Overrefined, exaggerated, or affected: "She said the word in a deliberately fey and pretentious manner, striking a pose" (Jenefer Shute).
b. Effeminate: "a fey snap of the wrist" (Michael Eric Dyson).
a. Having or displaying an otherworldly, magical, or fairylike aspect or quality: "She's got that fey look as though she's had breakfast with a leprechaun" (Dorothy Burnham).
b. Having visionary power; clairvoyant.
c. Appearing touched or crazy, as if under a spell.
a. Fated to die soon.
b. Full of the sense of approaching death.
[Middle English feie, fated to die, from Old English fǣge.]
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.