Word of the day – fey

One of my correspondents asked me today whether I knew of any suitable translations of the English word fey, which has a number of meanings, including:

– Having or displaying an otherworldly, magical, or fairy-like aspect or quality
– Having visionary power; clairvoyant
– Appearing touched or crazy, as if under a spell

In Scots, it also means:

– Fated to die soon.
– Full of the sense of approaching death.

It comes from the Middle English feie, fated to die, from Old English fǣge.

Source: The Free Dictionary

I found some translations in other languages on Answers.com, though none of them mean quite the same thing as the English word.

I also found the lovely Welsh word, mympwyol, which means arbitrary, capricious, faddy, quixotic or whimsical.

Can you think of any equivalent words in other languages for fey?

This entry was posted in English, Language, Words and phrases.

3 Responses to Word of the day – fey

  1. Daniel says:

    hm . . . how about loco? it’s not as exotic as the welsh translation you provide but i don’t know any more specific a word in spanish :) well i guess there is “quijotesco”, but that’s sort off cheating.

  2. Mike says:

    It’s not quite the same, but the Japanese 不思議/fushigi has some similar connotations to ‘fey’. It can mean wonder, miracle, strangeness, mystery, marvel, curiosity, etc. With な/na at the end it becomes an adjective. The strangeness it describes has something of a supernatural ring to it, unlike 変(な)/hen(na), which just means odd.

  3. Colin says:

    Well, the closest thing to a fairy in Spanish folklore would probably by the ‘duende’. I’ve heard some relatives from Madrid struggle to come up with terms along these lines, actually, and I think they finally settled on the ‘duende’, so while there’s not a single word for ‘fey’, you could say ‘como un duende’ or even that a person has ‘duendismo’.

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