Printable Version
Pronunciation: faynt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A fake move to lure an opponent into thinking you will next do one thing when you do something else.

Notes: Do not confuse this word with the adjective faint "barely perceivable", though they share the same origin (see Word History). Feint may be used as a verb 'as is', as in 'to feint a boxing opponent with a left hook'.

In Play: This word is often heard in sports: "Manny Shavitz made two feints toward the basket, then quickly passed the ball to Les Newcombe in the other direction." However, any deceptive move to hide your real intentions is a feint: "The movie uses comedy as a feint to get its serious point across."

Word History: This words is French feinte "a feint, pretense" without the final E. Feinte is a noun based on Old French feint "false, deceitful; weak, faint", originally the feminine past participle of feindre "pretend, feign", inherited from Latin fingere "to touch; alter, change". Latin acquired this word from PIE dheigh- "to knead, shape, build", source also of Latin figura "pattern, shape", which underlies many English borrowings, like figure, figurine, and configure. Fictio(n) "creation" is based on the past participle of fingere. English copied this word as fiction. Feign is another word English borrowed from Latin fingere via French. The adjective faint "barely perceivable" also derived from fingere via the same Old French feindre.

Dr. Goodword,

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