synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples & translations of fairy in English

English Online Dictionary. What means fairy‎? What does fairy mean?


Alternative forms

  • faery
  • faerie
  • færie (archaic, nonstandard)
  • fairie


From Middle English fairye, fairie, from Old French faerie, from fae + -erie, from Vulgar Latin *Fāta (goddess of fate), from Latin fātum (fate). Equivalent to fey +‎ -ry.

English from ca. 1300, first in the sense of "enchantment, illusion, dream" and later "realm of the fays, fairy-land" or "the inhabitants of fairyland as a collective". The re-interpretation of the term as a countable noun denoting individual inhabitants of fairy-land can be traced to the 1390s, but becomes common only in the 16th century.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈfɛə̯ɹi/
  • (General American) enPR: fârʹē
    • (Marymarrymerry distinction) IPA(key): /ˈfɛə̯ɹi/
    • (Marymarrymerry merger) IPA(key): /ˈfɛɹi/
  • Rhymes: -ɛəɹi
  • Homophone: ferry (in accents with the Mary-marry-merry merger)


fairy (countable and uncountable, plural fairies)

  1. (uncountable, obsolete) The realm of faerie; enchantment, illusion.
  2. A mythical being with magical powers, known in many sizes and descriptions, although often depicted in modern illustrations only as a small sprite with gauze-like wings, and revered in some modern forms of paganism.
  3. An enchantress, or creature of overpowering charm.
  4. (Northern England, US, derogatory, colloquial) A male homosexual, especially one who is effeminate.
    • 1933, Nathanael West, 'Miss Lonelyhearts' [Miss Lonelyhearts is male.]
      The cripple returned the smile and stuck out his hand. Miss Lonelyhearts clasped it, and they stood this way, smiling and holding hands, until Mrs. Doyle reëntered the room.
      "What a sweet pair of fairies you guys are," she said.
      The cripple pulled his hand away and made as though to strike his wife.
  5. A member of two species of hummingbird in the genus Heliothryx.


  • (supernatural creature): fay, fey, fae, sprite; see also goblin (hostile)
  • (male homosexual): fag (US), faggot (US), poof (UK), queen

Derived terms



fairy (comparative more fairy, superlative most fairy)

  1. Like a fairy; fanciful, whimsical, delicate.
    • ....—a large cashmere shawl, with its border of roses, thrown carelessly on a chair—a crimson cushion, where lay sleeping a Blenheim dog, almost small enough to have passed through the royal ring in that most fairy tale of the White Cat:—all bespoke a lady's room.

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This article based on an article on Wiktionary. The list of authors can be seen in the page history there. The original work has been modified. This article is distributed under the terms of this license.