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Fain

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Fain

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:21 pm

• fain •


Pronunciation: fayn • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adverb, adjective

Meaning: 1. (Adverb) Happily, gladly, willingly, as in fain accept apologies. 2. (Adjective) Preferably, sooner, as in fain be dead than eat what is before me. 3. (Adjective) Obliged, obligated, as in fain to pick up some bread on the way home.

Notes: Most dictionaries claim that this word is archaic, but then one of them provides a quotation containing it from a 2002 newspaper article. Even if the word is dead today in most parts of the English-speaking world, we run into it in the literature of the 19th century. It will be difficult to breathe new life into this word even if we care to, since it stands alone in the world, a lexical orphan without any family.

In Play: If you are the sort that likes to surprise your friends, you might try saying something like this: "I would fain drink a cup of tea." Be prepared for a lot of blank faces unless you add, "Would anyone else care for a cup?" When you step out of the room, expect a stampede for the dictionary. Be sure there is one in the room before you use this word. "I would love to watch the game with you this afternoon, Fred, but I'm fain to mow the lawn." Notice that the adjective uses the preposition to; the adverb does not.

Word History: In Old English this word was fagen "glad, cheerful, happy" from a common Germanic root: compare Old Saxon fagan, Old Norse feginn "glad," and Gothic faginon "to rejoice". The trail grows cold at Proto-Germanic. We do know that Old English had a verb, fagnian, built upon fagen. By Middle English this verb had become faunen and the meaning of the verb changed from "rejoice" to "flatter", hence today's fawn. (I would fain offer a word of thanks to one of the editors of the Good Word series, Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira, for his suggestion of today's dusty but not dead Good Word.)
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Re: Fain

Postby MTC » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:49 am

I would fain lie supine in my garden on a lazy day than walk away in high dudgeon and grit my teeth in anger over an embarrassing buttdial, or even read a history about those who goldbrick.
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Re: Fain

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:14 am

I would feign amazement at MTC's ability to string together so many Goodwords, but no one would believe me.
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Re: Fain

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:09 pm

I would fain amazement at his ability as well, but I know better.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: Fain

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:34 pm

Fain is indeed a rarely used word. I know I have never used it and think I have nerver heard anyone use it. If it weren't for the KJV Bible, I would never have read the word. Of the prodigal son Jesus said, "And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat..." Luke 15:16.

I cannot feign a great love for fain. But is a Good Word.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: Fain

Postby Slava » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:49 pm

I know this word because of the ballad of Lord Randall, which, if I remember correctly, has a chorus of:

Oh, make my bed soon
For I'm sick to the heart
And fain would lie doon.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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Re: Fain

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:34 pm

Ah, yes, Lord Randall, another youthful memorization assignment:
“O where ha’ you been, Lord Randal, my son?
And where ha you been, my handsome young
man?”
“I hae been at the greenwood; mother, mak my bed
soon,
For I’m wearied wi’ huntin, and fain wad lie
down.”

“An wha met ye there, Lord Randal, my son? 5
An wha met you there, my handsome young man?”
“O I met wi’ my true-love; mother, mak my bed
soon,
For I’m wearied wi’ huntin, and fain wad lie
down.”
“And what did she give you, Lord Randal, my son?
And what did she give you, my handsome young” 10
man?
“Eels fried in a pan; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m wearied wi’ huntin, and fain wad lie
down.”

“And wha gat your leavins, Lord Randal, my son?
And wha gat your leavins, my handsome young
man?”
“My hawks and my hounds; mother, mak my bed 15
soon,
For I’m wearied wi’ huntin, and fain wad lie
down.”

“And what becam of them, Lord Randal, my son?
And what becam of them, my handsome young
man?”
“They swelled and they died; mother, mak my bed
soon,
For I’m wearied wi’ huntin, and fain wad lie 20
down.”

“O I fear you are poisoned, Lord Randal, my son!
I fear you are poisoned, my handsome young
man!”
“O yes, I am poisoned, mother, mak my bed soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.”

“What d’ ye leave to your mother, Lord Randal, 25
my son?
What d’ ye leave to your mother, my handsome
young man?”
“Four and twenty milk kye; mother, mak my bed
soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.”

“What d’ ye leave to your sister, Lord Randal, my
son?
What d’ ye to your sister my handsome young 30
man?”
“My gold and my silver; mother, mak my bed
soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.”

“What d’ ye leave to your brother, Lord Randal,
my son?
What d’ ye to your brother my handsome young
man?”
“My houses and my lands; mother, mak my bed 35
soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.”

“What d’ ye leave to your true-love, Lord Randal,
my son?
What d’ ye to your true-love my handsome young
man?”
“I leave her hell and fire; mother, mak my bed
soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.” 40
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: Fain

Postby MTC » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:56 pm

Thanks, Luke. I had forgotten the grim hell fire ending (Modern medicine might have saved young Lord Randall) , but with your permission would fain pass on to a more light-hearted topic, the homophones, fain, feign, and fane. Most of us know the first two. I myself had never heard the third (That rhymes!) which means "temple" or "church." Not surprising, perhaps, that I had never heard the third, that is... Well, tired now, and "fain wad lie down," temporarily at least.

P.S. Had modern medicine saved young Lord Randall we would never have been able to enjoy the plaintive poem about his demise. So, belated thanks, Lord Randall. Your death was not in vein, or vane? Vain, I mean! Vain! Sorry, Lord Randall! Apparently exhibiting some latent homophonic tendencies... We all display them from time to time. Didn't President Bush ("The Lesser") ban them from the military? Anyway, I digress. Tugging back now...

P.P.S. Thanks to all for your kind compliments.

P.P.P.S. Link to homophone dictionary: http://legacy.earlham.edu/~peters/writing/homofone.htm
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Re: Fain

Postby Slava » Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:58 pm

Given that Lord Randall was poisoned, his death may well have been in vein. :)
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Re: Fain

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:19 pm

:lol:
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Re: Fain

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:04 am

Much of the above the above is in a jugular vein, oops, a jocular vein. Remember Mad Magazine?
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: Fain

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:39 am

Oh, I well remember, reading it where my folks would
not see me "filling my head with trash".
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Re: Fain

Postby MTC » Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:51 pm

Now we recycle our "trash," Luke.
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Re: Fain

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:56 pm

I've forgotten more trash than most people remember.
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