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fairy

fairy, in folklore, one of a variety of supernatural beings endowed with the powers of magic and enchantment. Belief in fairies has existed from earliest times, and literatures all over the world have tales of fairies and their relations with humans. Some Christians have said that fairies were the ancestors of the ancient pagan gods, who, having been replaced by newer deities, were therefore hostile. Others thought that fairies were nature deities, similar to the Greek nymphs. Still others identified fairies with the souls of the dead, particularly the unbaptized, or with fallen angels. Among their many guises, fairies have been described as tiny, wizen-faced old men, like the Irish leprechaun; as beautiful enchantresses who wooed men to their deaths, like Morgan le Fay and the Lorelei; and as hideous, man-eating giants, like the ogre.

Fairies were frequently supposed to reside in a kingdom of their own—which might be underground, e.g., gnomes; in the sea, e.g., mermaids; in an enchanted part of the forest; or in some far land. Sometimes they were ruled by a king or queen, as were the trolls in Ibsen's Peer Gynt and the fairies in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Although fairies were usually represented as mischievous, capricious, and even demonic, they could also be loving and bountiful, as the fairy godmother in Cinderella. Sometimes fairies entered into love affairs with mortals, but usually such liaisons involved some restriction or compact and frequently ended in calamity, as did those of Melusine and Undine. Various peoples have emphasized particular kinds of fairies in their folklore, such as the Arabic jinni, Scandinavian troll, Germanic elf, and English pixie. Among the great adapters of fairy lore into popular fairy tales were Charles Perrault, the brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Andersen. Other notable contributors were Andrew Lang and James Stephens.

See K. M. Briggs, The Fairies in English Tradition and Literature (1967); J. D. Zipes, Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales (1979), Fairy Tale as Myth/Myth as Fairy Tale (1994), and When Dreams Came True: Classical Fairy Tales and Their Tradition (1999); M. M. Tatar, Off with Their Heads!: Fairy Tales and the Culture of Childhood (1992); M. Warner, From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers (1995).

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"fairy." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"fairy." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/fairy

fairy

fairy a small imaginary being of human form that has magical powers, especially a female one. The word is recorded from Middle English (denoting fairyland, or fairies collectively), and comes via Old French from Latin fata ‘the Fates’.

Fairies were traditionally seen as impinging on the mortal world with dangerous effect, but the perception of them as powerful beings inhabiting a parallel world to that of humankind gradually dwindled, and by the 17th century they were largely figures of a literary tradition.

In the 20th century, the question of whether fairies might exist was raised by Arthur Conan Doyle, who published The Coming of the Fairies (1921), based on the experiences of two Yorkshire schoolgirls from Cottingley who had apparently been visited by, and taken photographs of, fairies. Conan Doyle, a keen believer in the supernatural, was convinced, although (as was revealed in 1983 by the original authors) the photographs had in fact been faked by the two girls.
fairy godmother a female character in some fairy stories who has magical powers and brings unexpected good fortune to the hero or heroine; the term is recorded from the mid 19th century.
fairy money money or gold given by fairies to mortals, which is said to turn to dried leaves and crumble rapidly away; John Locke uses the image in his Essay concerning Human Understanding (1690).
fairy ring a circular area of grass that is darker in colour than the surrounding grass due to the growth of certain fungi. They were popularly believed to have been caused by fairies dancing.
fairy tale denoting something regarded as resembling a fairy story in being magical, idealized, or extremely happy.

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"fairy." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"fairy." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved July 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/fairy

Fairy

242. Fairy

  1. Abonde, Dame good fairy who brings children presents on New Years Eve. [Fr. Folklore: Brewer Dictionary, 3]
  2. Ariel sprite who confuses the castaways on Prosperos island. [Br. Drama: Shakespeare The Tempest ]
  3. fairy godmother fulfills Cinderellas wishes and helps her win the prince. [Fr. Fairy Tale: Cinderella ]
  4. Grandmarina fairy who provides everything for Princess Alicias happiness. [Br. Lit.: Dickens The Magic Fishbone ]
  5. leprechaun small supernatural creature associated with shoemaking and hidden treasure. [Irish Folklore: Benét, 579]
  6. Mab, Queen fairies midwife delivers mans brain of dreams. [Br. Legend: Benét, 610]
  7. Oberon and Titania King and Queen of the Fairies. [Br. Drama: Shakespeare A Midsummer Nights Dream ]
  8. Pigwiggin his love for Queen Mab ruptures her harmony with Oberon. [Br. Poetry: Nymphidia in Barnhart, 824]
  9. Puck the shrewd and knavish sprite who causes minor catastrophes and embarrassing situations. [Br. Drama: Shakespeare A Midsummer Nights Dream ]
  10. Tinker Bell fairy friend of Peter Pan. [Br. Lit.: J. M. Barrie Peter Pan ]

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"Fairy." Allusions--Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Fairy." Allusions--Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. . Retrieved July 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/fairy

fairy

fair·y / ˈfe(ə)rē/ • n. (pl. fair·ies) 1. a small imaginary being of human form that has magical powers, esp. a female one. 2. inf., offens. a male homosexual. • adj. belonging to, resembling, or associated with fairies: fairy gold.

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"fairy." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"fairy." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved July 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/fairy-1

fairy

fairy †fairy-land; †fairy-folk; †magic; diminutive supernatural being. XIV. — OF. fa(i)erie (mod. fēerie), f. fay FAY; see -ERY. Cf. FAERIE. The application to a single being is peculiar to Eng.
Hence fairyland XVI, fairy-tale XVIII.

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"fairy." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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fairy

fairyairy, Azeri, canary, carabinieri, Carey, Cary, chary, clary, contrary, dairy, Dari, faerie, fairy, glairy, glary, Guarneri, hairy, lairy, Mary, miserere, nary, Nyerere, prairie, Salieri, scary, Tipperary, vary, wary •carefree • masonry • blazonry •Aintree • pastry • masturbatory •freemasonry • stonemasonry • Petrie

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