- adjective referring to paper printed with faint horizontal lines across it as a guide for writing
- noun an attack which is not followed through, but is intended merely to test the enemy’s defences or to give him a false idea of your own intentions
- noun very light lines running across writing paper and the paper in account books
- noun a deceptive move in a competitive sport
Origin & History of “feint”
The noun feint (17th c.) and the adjective feint (19th c.) are essentially different words, but they have a common ultimate origin. Feint ‘misleading mock attack’ was borrowed from French feinte, a noun use of the feminine form of the past participle of feindre ‘pretend’ (from which English got feign). Feint ‘printed with pale lines’ is an artificial variant of faint introduced in the printing trade in the mid 19th century (and faint itself originally came from the past participle of feindre).