• Pleased or willing under the circumstances.
  • Compelled by the circumstances; obliged.


  • With pleasure; gladly.

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Example Sentences

“I’m fain to continue the online book club I started in 2020, because it keeps me in touch with friends across the country.”

“He was fain to attend every remaining class session or risk a failing grade.”

“Despite the rain, I would fain continue the hike.”

Word Origin

Old English, pre-12th century

Why this word?

“Fain” is an Old English word that doesn’t have a lot of modern context, but it is related to the verb “fawn.” They both come from the Germanic word “fægen,” meaning “to be happy or pleased.” Today, “fawning” is obsequious adoration, while “fain” describes a willingness or obligation. When “fain is used as an adjective, the willingness can come from opposite sides of the coin — someone feeling fain might be pleased as punch, or the activity might not be their cup of tea, but they’re obligated to do it anyway. As an adverb, “fain” means the activity is done gladly.

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