faint vs weak what difference

what is difference between faint and weak



  • IPA(key): /feɪnt/
  • Rhymes: -eɪnt
  • Homophone: feint

Etymology 1

From Middle English faynt, feynt (weak; feeble), from Old French faint, feint (feigned; negligent; sluggish), past participle of feindre, faindre (to feign; sham; work negligently), from Latin fingere (to touch, handle, usually form, shape, frame, form in thought, imagine, conceive, contrive, devise, feign).


faint (comparative fainter, superlative faintest)

  1. (of a being) Lacking strength; weak; languid; inclined to lose consciousness
  2. Lacking courage, spirit, or energy; cowardly; dejected
    • 1789, Robert Burns, to Dr. Blacklock
      Faint heart ne’er won fair lady.
  3. Barely perceptible; not bright, or loud, or sharp
  4. Performed, done, or acted, weakly; not exhibiting vigor, strength, or energy
  5. Slight; minimal.
    • 2005, Lesley Brown (translator), Plato, Sophist, 243b.
      do you have the faintest understanding of what they mean?
Derived terms
  • damn with faint praise
  • fainten
  • faint-hearted
  • faintish
  • faintling
  • faintly
  • faintness


faint (plural faints)

  1. The act of fainting, syncope.
  2. (rare) The state of one who has fainted; a swoon.
Derived terms
  • faintful
  • faintless
  • faintsome

Etymology 2

From Middle English fainten, feynten, from the adjective (see above).


faint (third-person singular simple present faints, present participle fainting, simple past and past participle fainted)

  1. (intransitive) To lose consciousness through a lack of oxygen or nutrients to the brain, usually as a result of suddenly reduced blood flow (may be caused by emotional trauma, loss of blood or various medical conditions).
    • If I send them away fasting [] they will faint by the way.
    • September 22 1713, Richard Steele, The Guardian No. 167
      But upon hearing the Honour which he intended her , she fainted away , and fell down as Dead at his Feet
  2. (intransitive) To lose courage or spirit; to become depressed or despondent.
  3. (intransitive) To decay; to disappear; to vanish.
    • November 12, 1711, Alexander Pope, letter to Henry Cromwell
      Gilded clouds, while we gaze upon them, faint before the eye.
  • (to lose consciousness): pass out, swoon, sweb, black out, keel over
  • queal

Further reading

  • faint in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • faint in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
  • faint at OneLook Dictionary Search


  • Fanti, fitna



From Middle High German vīnt, vīent, vīant, from Old High German fīant, fīand, from Proto-Germanic *fijandz (enemy, fiend). Cognate with German Feind, English fiend.


fàint m (plural fainte)

  1. (Sette Comuni) enemy, fiend


  • “faint” in Martalar, Umberto Martello; Bellotto, Alfonso (1974) Dizionario della lingua Cimbra dei Sette Communi vicentini, 1st edition, Roana, Italy: Instituto di Cultura Cimbra A. Dal Pozzo


Alternative forms

  • pa faint (literary)


Shortened from pa faint (what amount).


  • IPA(key): /vai̯nt/



  1. how much, how many

Usage notes

Faint means either how many, followed by o and the plural form of a noun with soft mutation, or how much, preceding o and the singular form of a noun, again with soft mutation. Sawl corresponds only to English how many and is followed by the singular form of a noun.



From Middle English weyk, wayk, weik, waik, from Old Norse veikr (weak), from Proto-Germanic *waikwaz (weak, yielded, pliant, bendsome), from Proto-Indo-European *weyk- (to bend, wind). Cognate with Old English wāc (weak, bendsome), Saterland Frisian wook (soft, gentle, tender), West Frisian weak (soft), Dutch week (soft, weak), German weich (weak, soft), Norwegian veik (weak), Swedish vek (weak, pliant), Icelandic veikur (bendsome, weak). Related to Old English wīcan (to yield). Doublet of week and wick. (Can this(+) etymology be sourced?)

This etymology is incomplete. You can help Wiktionary by elaborating on the origins of this term.


  • enPR: wēk, IPA(key): /wiːk/
  • Rhymes: -iːk
  • Homophone: week


weak (comparative weaker, superlative weakest)

  1. Lacking in force (usually strength) or ability.
    • weak with hunger, mad with love
  2. Unable to sustain a great weight, pressure, or strain.
  3. Unable to withstand temptation, urgency, persuasion, etc.; easily impressed, moved, or overcome; accessible; vulnerable.
    • 1703, Nicholas Rowe, The Fair Penitent Act I, scene I:
      Guard thy heart / On this weak side, where most our nature fails.
  4. Dilute, lacking in taste or potency.
  5. (grammar) Displaying a particular kind of inflection, including:
    1. (Germanic languages, of verbs) Regular in inflection, lacking vowel changes and having a past tense with -d- or -t-.
    2. (Germanic languages, of nouns) Showing less distinct grammatical endings.
    3. (Germanic languages, of adjectives) Definite in meaning, often used with a definite article or similar word.
  6. (chemistry) That does not ionize completely into anions and cations in a solution.
  7. (physics) One of the four fundamental forces associated with nuclear decay.
  8. (slang) Bad or uncool.
  9. (mathematics, logic) Having a narrow range of logical consequences; narrowly applicable. (Often contrasted with a strong statement which implies it.)
  10. Resulting from, or indicating, lack of judgment, discernment, or firmness; unwise; hence, foolish.
  11. Not having power to convince; not supported by force of reason or truth; unsustained.
  12. Lacking in vigour or expression.
  13. Not prevalent or effective, or not felt to be prevalent; not potent; feeble.
  14. (stock exchange) Tending towards lower prices.
  15. (photography) Lacking contrast.


  • (lacking in force or ability): feeble, frail, powerless, vincible, assailable, vulnerable
  • (lacking in taste or potency): dilute, watery
  • See also Thesaurus:weak


  • (lacking in force or ability): healthy, powerful, robust, strong, invincible
  • (lacking in taste or potency): potent, robust, strong
  • (chemistry: that does not ionize completely): strong

Derived terms



  • Wake, wake, weka

West Frisian


(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


  • IPA(key): /vɪə̯k/



  1. (Clay) soft


Alternative forms

  • wêk (Wood)

Further reading

  • “weak (I)”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011

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