Famous Sayings #180 — ‘Fainthearted/Faint of Heart’

February 17, 2020

Car racing can be a dangerous sport. It’s not for the faint of heart.

fainthearted, faint of heart, famous sayings
I guess you can say that being a surgeon is not for the faint of heart. Image by skeeze from Pixabay.

As I was looking up the term half-hearted for the Famous Sayings post I published on Valentine’s Day, I came across some information for the word “fainthearted” and the related term “faint of heart.”

What Does It Mean to Be Fainthearted?

There are many definitions for the term fainthearted. In short, a fainthearted person:

  • Shows their weakness during difficult or intense situations (“What does”).
  • Is not confident or brave and they may dislike taking unnecessary risks (“FAINTHEARTED”).
  • Lacks courage. They are cowardly and timorous (“Fainthearted”).
  • Will easily experience anxiety or stress when faced with an unpleasant situation, a challenge, a risk, or physical strain (“Faint of heart – Idioms”).
  • May feel uncomfortable or become sick when they see graphic imagery (“Faint of heart – Idioms”).
  • Is squeamish, and thus unable to rise to the occasion (Grammarist).
  • Lacks conviction (Lexico).
  • Is irresolute (Various).

Generally, the term “faint of heart” can be used to refer to a group of timid people (Various). Also, when someone says that something that is “not for the fainthearted” or “not for the faint of heart” that person is saying that the thing in question is extreme or very unusual. Therefore, that thing is not suitable for people who only want to deal with the safe and familiar (“Not for the fainthearted”).

Other times, these terms can be used in the humorous sense to say that something is difficult and that it requires a lot of effort (“something is not”).

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