Definition of faint in US English:

faint

adjective

  • 1(of a sight, smell, or sound) barely perceptible.

    ‘the faint murmur of voices’
    • ‘Last night on the evening air a faint whiff of garbage floated down the street making the heat even more unbearable.’
    • ‘I strained my ears and was about to give up when the faint sound of a rumbling engine became perceptible.’
    • ‘A faint trace of wood smoke wisps through the air.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I just lay there listening to the faint beat of his heart.’
    • ‘A faint rustling was heard close to where they were.’
    • ‘There was just a faint scent of lavender and mothballs about her.’
    • ‘Richard stayed silent, nothing stirred and he could hear his heart beating nervously and the faint crackle of the flames.’
    • ‘l've been listening to the faint hum of London traffic and the random bangs and crackles of fireworks in nearby parks and gardens.’
    • ‘The only sound is the faint whisper of the air-conditioning.’
    • ‘I could still detect the faint smell of bleach.’
    • ‘As I get closer, there's a faint gleam behind the stained-glass windows of the 13th-century abbey.’
    • ‘Even now, years later, with a little help from my imagination I can open up that suitcase and still smell their faint aroma.’
    • ‘As they got closer Zoe could see faint outlines of buildings.’
    • ‘Everywhere they look in the sky, they see a faint glow.’
    • ‘All of the marks on the sides are very faint.’
    • ‘On a small, precarious headland the faint traces of a monastic cell can be seen.’
    • ‘Bat calls have to be incredibly loud so that the faint echoes can to be detected.’
    • ‘The sound was so faint untrained ears could have barely heard it.’
    • ‘He had short black hair and a very faint black moustache, a London accent and a thin build.’
    indistinct, vague, unclear, indefinite, ill-defined, obscure, imperceptible, hardly noticeable, hardly detectable, unobtrusive
    quiet, muted, muffled, stifled, subdued
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    1. 1.1 (of a hope, chance, or possibility) slight; remote.
      ‘there is a faint chance that the enemy may flee’
      • ‘United desperately need to win at the Riverside Stadium to maintain their faint hopes of clawing their way back into the title race.’
      • ‘I am therefore in the weeks ahead going to be putting up my old academic papers on Blogspot in the faint hope of introducing them to a wider audience.’
      • ‘All the while he is in faint hope he can make it home to his beloved.’
      • ‘With a minute to go, Henry pulled his fifth and final foul and left the court, taking with him Kingston's faint hope of winning the game.’
      • ‘Well, with 13 million creatures who have yet to be named is there a faint chance that you might run out of possible names?’
      • ‘I saw a faint glimmer of hope; a chance to derail the topic.’
      • ‘There remains a faint hope that he has been released and is attempting to make his way through the jungle.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So on Saturday I went to the Bayshore Winners with the faint hope they would carry the same merchandise.’
      • ‘Reports last week suggested that there is now a faint hope of an end to these absurdities.’
      • ‘Is there a touch of faint hope in Mr Ward's comment that the bank was considering appealing?’
      • ‘Yes, on one hand he's accepting perhaps the reality, but also on the other hand, he's still trying to see if there is a faint hope he can hang on in there.’
      • ‘It was all going nowhere and we were clinging to the faint hope that Kildare might muster something.’
      • ‘Today's results extinguished their faint hopes that they could prise back control of the Senate.’
      • ‘Volunteers' title hopes took a blow when they lost 4-3 at home to Hounds, who still harbour faint hopes of the championship.’
      • ‘In short, the whole point of the pub is that you go to relax and talk to people in the faint hope that when you emerge, your mind feels unburdened.’
      • ‘His tenure closed with a win at Hampden, but it was a hollow victory as faint hopes of qualification for the next World Cup were extinguished.’
      • ‘Only rain could have rescued the home side and a light cloud cover may have raised faint hopes of a miracle but it was all over after India had bowled just 12 balls.’
      • ‘He eked out his drinking water until Tuesday morning, waiting in the faint hope of being found.’
      slight, slender, slim, small, tiny, minimal, negligible, remote, distant, vague, unlikely, improbable, doubtful, dubious, far-fetched
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    2. 1.2 Lacking in strength or enthusiasm; feeble.
      ‘the faint beat of a butterfly's wing’
      • ‘If that seems like faint praise… well, it is.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Ask about the income from playing the instrument, he will give you a faint smile as reply.’
      • ‘I made the obvious joke about him looking forward to progressing to the next stage and consuming solids, which got me a faint smile from Quentin.’
      • ‘The acquisition of Edmark was greeted with faint enthusiasm when it was first announced.’
      unenthusiastic, half-hearted, weak, feeble, low-key
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  • 2predicative Weak and dizzy; close to losing consciousness.

    ‘the heat made him feel faint’
    • ‘They have three or four of these episodes a year when they feel dizzy or faint, but they just pick themselves up and carry on.’
    • ‘The wine rarely loses its faint iodine background flavour and is often high in alcohol.’
    • ‘If you become dizzy or faint while sitting, take several deep breaths and bend forward with your head between your knees.’
    • ‘This is when you stomach empties too quickly after eating, causing a drop in blood sugar and making you feel dizzy and faint.’
    • ‘She often had to stop up to 40 times during a training session and had to pull out of major competitions because she felt dizzy or faint.’
    • ‘‘I was putting my arm under pressure but I was losing so much blood I was beginning to feel very faint,’ she said.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Lydie had never felt so faint in all her life.’
    • ‘Jane awakens again later in the afternoon, faint with hunger and still numb from emotion.’
    • ‘If conscious, the person may feel faint or be very weak or confused.’
    • ‘Lights danced in front of her eyes, and she felt faint from lack of blood.’
    • ‘The girls would be faint at the sight of such destruction.’
    • ‘Finally another man went down to check and found him weak and faint from exertion and lack of air.’
    • ‘He felt faint from the lack of oxygen he was now receiving.’
    • ‘Bren didn't hear, dizzy and faint from the nausea and endless retching.’
    • ‘He had woken up feeling dizzy and faint, a distant rushing sound in his ears.’
    • ‘If you feel faint, sweaty, dizzy or confused you may be suffering from an insulin reaction.’
    • ‘When Kirstle reached her room, panting and close to a faint, her heart almost skipped a beat when she saw the young lady sitting in a chair by her fire.’
    dizzy, giddy, light-headed, muzzy, weak, weak at the knees, unsteady, shaky, wobbly, off-balance, reeling
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verb

[no object]
  • 1Lose consciousness for a short time because of a temporarily insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain.

    • ‘I'd do it myself, but I faint at the sight of a needle.’
    • ‘Pacemakers are usually used to treat an abnormally slow heartbeat (heart block) which can cause dizziness, fainting or blackouts.’
    • ‘The victim has signs of shock, such as fainting, pale complexion or breathing in a notably shallow manner.’
    • ‘The child may tire easily and may even faint from physical activity.’
    • ‘Call the doctor if your child faints more than once in a month.’
    • ‘During either stage, the investigator stops the test if the volunteer faints or develops low blood pressure.’
    • ‘The surgery in May came after she had started to suffer alarming ‘blue’ spells, in which she would faint through lack of oxygen.’
    • ‘Physical activity, even if it's not very strenuous, may trigger extreme fatigue, dizziness or even fainting.’
    • ‘When blood pressure drops, less blood flows to the brain, leading to fainting.’
    • ‘Hip fractures were not associated with fainting or the use of sedatives or alcohol.’
    • ‘Don't go if you faint at the sight of blood.’
    • ‘He then began to hyperventilate and allegedly fainted and hit the car in front of him.’
    • ‘It was concluded that the pilot had fainted or lost his horizon.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘"I have to go… the incense, it's making me faint.’
    • ‘The patient hadn't fainted; she'd had a stroke and this was the woman who had been so kind to me.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Since the age of 14 he had been fainting and losing consciousness regularly at school.’
    • ‘Common signs of pulmonary hypertension are shortness of breath with activity, feeling tired, fainting and chest pain.’
    • ‘My back was hurting badly and I was fainting, losing my senses.’
    pass out, lose consciousness, fall unconscious, black out, collapse
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    1. 1.1archaic Grow weak or feeble; decline.
      ‘the fires were fainting’
      • ‘The flame of the soldiers' fire grew faint, white mists rose in the fields, the cannon in the forest ceased and the birds began.’

noun

  • A sudden loss of consciousness.

    ‘she hit the floor in a dead faint’
    • ‘I would have started yelling and hooting with glee in his face, but I was in bed in a dead faint while he was thrown out.’
    • ‘Catalyne soon tired and collapsed in the middle of the street in a dead faint, the young king rushing to her side as the remaining enemy closed in on them.’
    • ‘He gave a loud, startling, heart-wrenching cry and fell backwards in a dead faint.’
    • ‘Irene shut the door and collapsed on the floor in a dead faint.’
    • ‘The multiple shocks to body and mind sent his wounded psyche catapulting down the dark tunnel to oblivion in a dead faint.’
    • ‘Once free of danger, she collapsed under a tree in a dead faint.’
    • ‘Pellew was the one to notice her fatigue and caught her in a dead faint.’
    • ‘If Prudie's beloved showed up in a skirt and pumps, she would probably wind up in a dead faint, but that's what makes horse races, no?’
    • ‘The first time he had drunk it he had been violently sick, then had fallen to the ground in a dead faint as the mildly poisonous root exploded through his system.’
    • ‘Others simply dropped to the ground in a dead faint, overwhelmed by Darkstorm's rage.’
    • ‘Adondra collapses in a dead faint as the power leaves her body, along with the blood from the deep gash on her shoulder.’
    • ‘They both fell to the ground in a dead faint, taking their chairs with them.’
    • ‘If I didn't find food soon I was going to collapse in a dead faint.’
    • ‘All she could do was stumble over to her cot and drop in a dead faint.’
    • ‘As soon as the kiss ended, Jane collapsed in a dead faint on the front steps.’
    • ‘I never got any farther than saying Mikasho, for my mother had collapsed in a dead faint.’
    • ‘Oreste stumbles, recovers, stumbles again - and measures his length on the ground in a dead faint.’
    • ‘She collapsed to the ground in a dead faint, and Vixen caught her as she fell.’
    • ‘Suddenly Tina let out a high-pitched wail, jumped from her cot and collapsed in a dead faint onto the floor.’
    • ‘Everyone in the crowd gasped and Miss Moss fell over in a dead faint with poor little Mr. Goodman to catch her stout figure.’
    blackout, fainting fit, loss of consciousness, collapse
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Phrases

  • not have the faintest

    • informal Have no idea.

      ‘I haven't the faintest what it means’
      • ‘I don't have the faintest idea who Michelle is talking about here.’
      • ‘So, uh, I guess it was a good movie, though I don't have the faintest idea what it was about.’
      • ‘You don't have the faintest idea what has happened, do you?’
      • ‘Afterwards, he said modestly: ‘I didn't have the faintest idea I'd win one award let alone three.’
      • ‘In fact, the people proposing to do the research for it didn't have the faintest idea of what chemicals, if any, might produce the results they described.’
      • ‘Iago's final silence was a speaking one; I don't have the faintest idea how to read Hermione's silence.’
      • ‘As a student at Sydney Boys High in the 1950s he didn't have the faintest idea what he wanted to do but, as he was good at debating, was consistently advised to study law.’
      • ‘But I'll tell you, I don't have the faintest idea how they've solved that problem.’
      • ‘The only problem was that I didn't have the faintest idea what I was going to say.’
      • ‘Believe me, we want to ‘talk’ with you, but we don't have the faintest idea how to accomplish that.’

Origin

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 feint.

Pronunciation

faint

/feɪnt//fānt/