Faerie vs Fairy what difference

what is difference between Faerie and Fairy


Alternative forms

  • færie (archaic, nonstandard)


From Old French faerie; re-introduced into English in deliberately archaising spelling in 1590 by Edmund Spenser in authoring the Faerie Queene.


faerie (countable and uncountable, plural faeries)

  1. Archaic spelling of fairy.
  2. Realm of the fays, fairyland.


  • Faerie, in Compact Oxford English Dictionary.


  • feriae

Old French

Alternative forms

  • faierie


fae +‎ -erie


faerie f

  1. the sphere or realm of enchantment, magic or dream associated with the fae (fays)

Derived terms

  • French: féerie
    • English: féerie
  • Middle English: fairye
    • English: fairy, fairie, faerie, faery
    • Scots: fairy, faerie, faery


Alternative forms

  • faery
  • faerie
  • færie (archaic, nonstandard)
  • fairie


From Middle English fairye, fairie, from Old French faerie, from fae + -erie, from Vulgar Latin *Fāta (goddess of fate), from Latin fātum (fate). Equivalent to Fate +‎ -ery.

English from ca. 1300, first in the sense of “enchantment, illusion, dream” and later “realm of the fays, fairy-land” or “the inhabitants of fairyland as a collective”.
The re-interpretation of the term as a countable noun denoting individual inhabitants of fairy-land can be traced to the 1390s, but becomes common only in the 16th century.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈfɛə̯ɹi/
  • (General American) enPR: fârʹē
    • (Marymarrymerry distinction) IPA(key): /ˈfɛə̯ɹi/
    • (Marymarrymerry merger) IPA(key): /ˈfɛɹi/
  • Rhymes: -ɛəɹi
  • Homophone: ferry (in accents with the Mary-marry-merry merger)


fairy (countable and uncountable, plural fairies)

  1. (uncountable, obsolete) The realm of faerie; enchantment, illusion.
  2. A mythical being with magical powers, known in many sizes and descriptions, although often depicted in modern illustrations only as a small sprite with gauze-like wings, and revered in some modern forms of paganism.
  3. An enchantress, or creature of overpowering charm.
  4. (Northern England, US, derogatory, colloquial) A male homosexual, especially one who is effeminate.
    • 1933, Nathanael West, ‘Miss Lonelyhearts’ [Miss Lonelyhearts is male.]
      The cripple returned the smile and stuck out his hand. Miss Lonelyhearts clasped it, and they stood this way, smiling and holding hands, until Mrs. Doyle reëntered the room.
      “What a sweet pair of fairies you guys are,” she said.
      The cripple pulled his hand away and made as though to strike his wife.
  5. A member of two species of hummingbird in the genus Heliothryx.


  • (supernatural creature): fay, fey, fae, sprite; see also goblin (hostile)
  • (male homosexual): fag (US), faggot (US), poof (UK), queen

Derived terms




  1. Like a fairy; fanciful, whimsical, delicate.

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