facade

noun
fa·​cade | \ fə-ˈsäd How to pronounce facade (audio) \
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

Synonyms

face, forehead, forepart, front

Antonyms

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 to 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 new skyscrapers can also create wind tunnels, allowing strong breezes to bounce off their facades and gain strength. ... Konrad Putzier, WSJ, "At New York’s Hudson Yards, Everyone Feels Colder," 5 May 2019 Another restoration attempt began in 1991 and has gone on for 20 years to clean up its facade. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Some of Notre Dame's Famous Pieces Are Being Moved to the Louvre," 15 Apr. 2019 Chinese architecture firm Open designed the unorthodox museum on the cusp of the sea, where its white facade is wedged into the sand like a series of giant seashells. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Otherworldly new museum is built into a sand dune," 17 Dec. 2018 Ukraine’s economic stagnation was visible in the pale bricks that had fallen from hospital’s facade, in the potholes in city roads, in the white zebra stripes almost totally washed away at pedestrian crossings. Mstyslav Chernov, The Seattle Times, "Ukrainian workers, seeing little hope at home, head abroad," 25 Mar. 2019 Ignore the god-awful Buddha-goes-to-Vegas museum and facade, and instead take the 15-minute climb to the temples. Hanya Yanagihara, Condé Nast Traveler, "50 Things to Do in Asia Before You Die," 24 Sep. 2018 The Trump Organization donated $5,000 to help restore the church facade in 2001; Trump himself signed the check, said the pastor at the church, Oliver Herzog. Katrin Bennhold, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump’s ancestral village abounds with his relatives. Few will admit it," 3 July 2018 The Trump Organization donated $5,000 to help restore the church facade in 2001; Mr. Trump himself signed the check, said the pastor at the church, Oliver Herzog. Katrin Bennhold, New York Times, "Trump’s Ancestral Village Abounds With His Relatives. Few Admit a Link.," 2 July 2018 Yellow crime scene tape enclosed the parking lot outside Mariscos El Kora, a large single-story restaurant with a reddish roof and stone facade, where police shined flashlights around parked cars. Hannah Leone, chicagotribune.com, "Security guard in custody after Archer Heights shooting," 16 June 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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Dictionary Entries near facade

faburden

fac

FAC

facade

face

faceable

face-about

Statistics for facade

Last Updated

6 Jun 2019

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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

facade

noun

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

facade

noun
fa·​cade | \ fə-ˈsäd How to pronounce facade (audio) \

Kids Definition of facade

: the face or front of a building

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More from Merriam-Webster on facade

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with facade

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for facade

Spanish Central: Translation of facade

Nglish: Translation of facade for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of facade for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about facade

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