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English grammar and communications hints and tips
Is it faint or feint?
Both of these words exist in British English. They do, however, have different meanings and are commonly mixed up.
NB: See note at end about another word: feigned
This is an adjective which means ‘lacking strength or vigour’, ‘lacking courage’ and ‘timid’. It also means ‘barely perceptible’, ‘dim’ and ‘indistinct’.
This is also a verb which means ‘to fall into a faint’.
- The boy felt faint, after seeing the sight. [adjective]
- There was a faint noise coming from the room. [adjective]
- The boy fainted, after seeing the sight. [verb]
This is a rare noun which means ‘a misleading movement designed to draw defensive action away from an intended objective or target’ or any ‘pretence intended to mislead’.
This is also a verb which means ‘to make a feint’ (as in the noun above).
As a noun, it also means ‘the finest line used in printing ruled paper’ and is a variant of ‘faint’.
This is an adjective which means ‘not real’ or ‘simulated’.
- The boy’s feigned accent did not cover up the fact that he was Spanish.
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