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?

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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’.