Posted by Smokey Stover on June 02, 2006
In Reply to: Fey Nye? posted by Bob on June 01, 2006
: : : : In Reply to: Feign Knights posted by David FG on January 04, 2005
: : : : I too was wondering about this a couple of years ago. We used 'Fay knights' in the South London area when I was a kid (I accept that 'Feign Knights' is probably far more likely as an origin, whatever that means!)but friends from North London have no idea what I'm on about!
: : : : Interestingly though about a year ago I was watching an early episode of Fools & Horses and Del did something to Rodney and immediately held up crossed fingers and claimed 'Fay Nites!'.
: : : : Great relief, I hadn't imagined it after all!
: : : : If anyone has any idea of the origin please let me know, it sounds like old English to me but who knows?!!
: : : Really WAG (wild *ss guess) here, but after reading the previous discussion:
: : : http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/38/messages/1568.html
: : : I was wondering if "feign I" could be related to something like "playing dead - ignore me"? But what would I know -- we used to say "king's X" when I was a kid.
: : I think it should be 'fain...I' as in forfend, fain would I - 'fain' used as in compelled - perhaps it is a contraction for "fain, not I" or "you are prohibited from choosing me".
: : that is my WAG, but it does have some root.
: : L
: In New York, 50+ years ago, it was "fins." No clue as to origin.
There's a pretty good discussion in the Archives under Feign knights. The issues of original spelling and original meaning do not seem resolvable, barring some persuasive voice from the grave. As to fain, it can indeed mean compelled or obliged, but more often, as an adjectice, means rejoiced, glad, well-pleased, disposed, inclined, eager. It is also used adverbially with similar meanings. But the original word may not be fain, making this part of the discussion entirely nugatory. SS