fa·cade | \ fə-ˈsäd \
variants: or less commonly façade

Definition of facade 

1 : the front of a building also : any face of a building given special architectural treatment a museum's east facade

2 : a false, superficial, or artificial appearance or effect tried to preserve the facade of a happy marriage

Illustration of facade

Illustration of facade

facade 1

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Synonyms & Antonyms for facade


face, forepart, front


back, rear, rearward, reverse

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A Brief History of facade

Facade is thought to have come to English from the Vulgar Latin facia, meaning “face.” Along the way it passed through both Italian, as faccia, and French, as _façade. The earliest meaning of the word in English was in reference to the front portion of a building, it’s “face,” so to speak (and face itself is sometimes used to describe this part of a structure as well). Somewhere along the way _ facade_ took on a figurative sense, referring to a way of behaving or appearing that gives other people a false idea of your true feelings or situation. This is similar the figurative use of veneer, which originally had the simple meaning of a thin layer of wood that was used to cover something, and now may also refer to a sort of deceptive behavior that masks one’s actual feelings (as in, “he had a thin veneer of politeness”).

Examples of facade in a Sentence

"I mean, don't you find yourself being extra careful about what you say and how you say it? As if you have to be this phony, put on a facade, because you don't want to give them the wrong impression?" —Terry McMillan, Waiting to Exhale, 1992 When I watched him in motion picture roles after the war, I knew there was something of honest substance behind that acting façade. —Andrew A. Rooney, And More by Andy Rooney, (1979) 1982 … but his magic power of concentration was gone. All the façades he built up between himself and his desperate love never entirely hid it. —May Sarton, Shadow of a Man, 1950 the facade of the bank the windowless façade of the skyscraper They were trying to preserve the facade of a happy marriage. I could sense the hostility lurking behind her polite facade.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The exterior facades of the 14- to 16-floor structures have a modern look, with jutting angles highlighted by contrasting colors schemes of orange, red, green, yellow, white and metallic gray. Brett Martel, Fox News, "Saransk swells from building boom of World Cup proportions," 22 June 2018 The new public mural graces the facade of the Design Center of the Carolinas. charlotteobserver, "What’s up this week in Charlotte’s visual arts?," 10 July 2018 The stately red facade of the palace, which came into view just off the highway, seemed practically prankish, like a grandiose truck stop. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, "A Portuguese Palace That’s a Tile Lover’s Dream Destination," 5 July 2018 About $1 million has gone to improving the facades of 13 buildings there. Bill Torpy, ajc, "Torpy at Large: Bitter sting as Atlanta officials sour on Sweet Auburn," 2 July 2018 The facade of is built from a grid of wooden squares that have been insulated in a gore-tex foil that wicks water and protects from wind. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "This modular prefab home is powered by the sun," 28 June 2018 The standing parking garage and the western facade of the 263-room Sheraton Hotel on site also are undergoing renovations. Lisa J. Huriash, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Aetna to move Sunrise offices to new Plantation Walk," 22 June 2018 Residents initially were told by emergency services to stay put inside their flats, only to be told to evacuate almost two hours after the first emergency call, as firefighters struggled to stop the blaze racing up the facade of the building. Sheena Mckenzie And Angela Dewan, CNN, "'Stay put' policy failed victims of Grenfell Tower blaze, says expert," 4 June 2018 Police said damage was done both to the facade of Savoy and neighboring Jos A Bank. Nicholas Rondinone, courant.com, "Car Hits Savoy In West Hartford; No Serious Injuries," 24 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'facade.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of facade

circa 1681, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for facade

borrowed from French, going back to Middle French fassade, borrowed from Italian facciata, from faccia "face" (going back to Vulgar Latin *facia) + -ata -ade — more at face entry 1

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Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for facade

The first known use of facade was circa 1681

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More Definitions for facade



English Language Learners Definition of facade

: the front of a building

: a way of behaving or appearing that gives other people a false idea of your true feelings or situation


fa·cade | \ fə-ˈsäd \

Kids Definition of facade

: the face or front of a building

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Comments on facade

What made you want to look up facade? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a magnificent or impressive array

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