What Does Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady Mean?

Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady Meaning

Definition: Being meek will not help you achieve success.

A similar expression is fortune favors the bold.

Origin of Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady

This proverb relies on the idea that most beautiful women will not fall in love with someone who is timid or insecure. The idea is that these women would much rather prefer to be with someone who is brave and courageous.

However, people can use this proverb in contexts outside of romance. It can refer to any venture.

faint heart never won fair maidenThis expression first appeared in writing in the work entitled Adagia, a collection of Greek and Latin proverbs, compiled in the 1500s by Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus. He continued to add more proverbs to this work throughout his life.

Examples of Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady

In this example, two friends are discussing an acquaintance.

Cassie: I really think Tim is so interesting.

Rebecca: Oh, yeah?

Cassie: Yeah! He’s so funny and smart, and he’s had a very interesting life.

Rebecca: It sounds as if you have a crush on him.

Cassie: I guess I do. I hope he asks me out.

Rebecca: Why don’t you ask him out?

Cassie: I don’t want to seem to forward.

Rebecca: Remember that faint heart never won fair lady. He’ll probably be flattered and impressed if you approach him first.

Cassie: I’ll try to raise the courage.

fair lady meaningIn the dialogue below, two men are discussing the art project that one of them is working on.

Antonio: I hope my work will be chosen for the next art show at the museum. I’m just worried my work will be too controversial. Do you think I should tone it down?

Igor: No, not at all. Faint heart never won fair lady. I think you should be as bold as you want to be. Art should be honest. The show organizers will be looking for art that is different and brave.

More Examples

This excerpt is from an interview with an author about her book.

  • But suave and charming Gregory is not giving up — neither are Emmeline’s grandmother and her best friend, Maggie. After all, faint heart never won fair lady. Hold your breath to see if he succeeds in his suit. Other threads in the story revolve around looted Nazi art, a former IRA commander and oh, yes, murder. –USA Today

This excerpt is from an article about getting to the point while speaking.

  • Observe the Cardinal Rule of Sales: ABC, Always Be Closing. Ask for the order. Ask for it early and ask for it often. Faint heart never won fair lady. –Forbes


The expression faint heart never won fair lady means you must be brave to achieve your goals.