Definition of fey in US English:



  • 1Giving an impression of vague unworldliness.

    ‘his mother was a strange, fey woman’
    • ‘There are fey frowns and cynical or innocent smiles.’
    • ‘Endearingly fey one minute, Norton will then go straight for the jugular of some poor, taste-challenged Pom in the audience, or phone an American eccentric on his dog-phone.’
    • ‘The slightly gauche figure-drawing adds to the carvings' fey allure, but their chief trait is an obsession with describing drapery and water in very low relief through swathes of sinuously convoluted line.’
    • ‘In today's political climate nothing spells defeat for Democrats more than the image of a bunch of fey, ivory tower eggheads running the military.’
    • ‘She was a fey creature from beginning to end, clinging to her white dress and teacup, scrawling the odd missive, at a loss in the environment she made her home and among the Warlpiri people who became her rescuers and friends.’
    • ‘In fact 50% more people in Melbourne stayed with Nicole's fey acting and the slick film making of Baz Luhrmann.’
    • ‘And then he proceeds to fill them with all kinds of fey things, and blends ‘reality’ with ‘fantasy’ until no one knows which way is up anymore.’
    • ‘He and co-founder/keyboardist Chris Seligman grew up together in Toronto, best friends who shared a love of fey, pretentious pop from across the pond.’
    • ‘Matthew MacFadyen is a notably fey King's Justice and Bettany looks tortured and panicked, as if his old employer Lars von Trier was waving to him from behind the camera.’
    • ‘Pat McGarvey is a lounge pioneer, a man to whom the phrase Austin Powers conjures up an image of the Six Million Dollar Man and his sharp-dressed head honcho Oscar rather than a fey secret agent with alarming dentistry.’
    • ‘The mother, whom the author renames as Eily, is an archetypal O'Brien heroine - beautiful, free-loving and fey, whose only crime is compassion.’
    • ‘A year on from their emergence into the public eye, we are swamped with soporific, overwrought, piano-led rock played by lip-trembling white boys with messy hair, student debts and fey voices.’
    • ‘Rather they convey an image of Ireland as a fey, mysterious place where funny things happen - funny strange and funny ha-ha.’
    • ‘Depp plays it low camp and fey, with beard braids, gold teeth and smudged mascara, and he does that Mike Myers / Dr Evil hand-to-mouth thing, only with the forefinger.’
    • ‘They do not have this strange, fey reticence to engage in ‘the blame game.’’
    • ‘There's something not a little heart-breaking in seeing intelligent, beautiful women whose faces show their experience going through the motions of fey girlishness.’
    • ‘The Divine Comedy is primarily Neil Hannon, an idiosyncratic, vaguely fey Brit who does a mean impression of Thom Yorke doing a mean impression of Cole Porter.’
    • ‘My personal distaste for fey singers aside, British quartet the Buffseeds offer up a decent and quite listenable album.’
    • ‘She'll be in need of some fey, shy boy affections.’
    • ‘‘The Second Line’ features the most precious, fey vocal stylings.’
    ill-fated, ill-starred, ill-omened, star-crossed, under a curse, cursed, jinxed, foredoomed, hapless, damned, bedevilled, luckless, unlucky
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Having supernatural powers of clairvoyance.
      • ‘Just another human with fey ancestry working for the Grey Detective Agency, where we specialized in supernatural problems, magical solutions.’
      • ‘King Arthur was surrounded by fey women, all intimately concerned with his fate.’
      • ‘The key to her salvation is the fascinating combination of her fey powers with her steadfastly mortal mind.’
      ethereal, dreamy, spiritual, mystic, mystical
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Scottish Fated to die or at the point of death.
      ‘now he is fey, he sees his own death, and I see it too’
      • ‘She has that fey look of someone whose time on Earth was always meant to be short.’
      • ‘They know a person is "fey," or doomed, but cannot avert the destined events.’


Old English fǣge (in the sense ‘fated to die soon’), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch veeg and to German feige ‘cowardly’.