Anything faint is barely there, but a feint is a fake out. If your understanding of these words is still somewhat faint, never fear! Just keep reading...
To feel faint is to feel weak, and if you feel really weak you might faint, or pass out. Faint also describes something dim and hard to see, like a distant light or even a ghost. And if you’re “faint of heart,” you’re a timid soul. Here are some examples of this word in the wild:
In the hours before, she felt like she might faint. (The Guardian)
They appear faint because they are sandstone, which gets eroded more easily in a flash flood. (New York Times)
Braving the supermarket the day before Thanksgiving is not for the faint of heart. (Seattle Times)
The noun feint, on the other hand, is a trick often used in sports. It’s when someone acts like they’re going to do one thing but then they do something else — like if a boxer looks like she’s about to punch you with a left hook but nabs you with a right jab instead. Feint can also be a verb, as when a goalie feints to the left but actually goes right. Like so:
He made two half-hearted feints toward the basket, hoping to catch Ben off balance and get an unchallenged set shot. (The Great Santini)
In the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, the attack was seen more as a diplomatic feint than a military assault, an effort to gain leverage during talks to end the war. (New York Times)
Mbappé cut in from the left and, after initially being tackled, he got the ball back off Kristoffer Olsson, feinted, and then curled the ball inside the post. (Washington Times)
These words sound the same, but remember that faint has an “ai,” like something as thin as "air," and feint has an “e” like "feign" or “pretend.”
Something faint has no courage or vigor. If you suddenly round the corner and see a gang of bullies staring straight at you, chances are you'll feel faint. Continue reading...