The old-fashioned adverb fain describes the manner of gladly or willingly doing something. You would fain have stayed home, but you had to venture out in the rain.

Fain comes from the Old English fægen, meaning "happy, glad, or well pleased." When you're fain to do something, you are happy to do it, like when you're exhausted and would fain take a nap. Sometimes fain is also used as an adjective to describe someone obligated or willing to do something: "He was fain to hand over half the lemonade stand money to his little brother."

Definitions of fain
  1. adjective
    having made preparations
    synonyms: disposed, inclined, prepared
    disposed or inclined toward
  2. adverb
    in a willing manner
    “I would fain do it”
    synonyms: gladly, lief
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week