facade

noun
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

Synonyms

face, 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 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

Behind that facade, the city’s report of the crime tells a different story, one of hardship, brutality and a struggle to keep up appearances in public. Yoshiaki Nohara, Bloomberg.com, "In One of the World’s Richest Countries, Most Single Mothers Live in Poverty," 24 June 2018 It was demolished in 1991 to make way for an office building, but right before the wrecking ball came, the sculptures were plucked from the facade. Jane Margolies, New York Times, "From the Slaughterhouse to the Playground," 20 June 2018 But a point of discrepancy between architect and client arose over the use of wood in the facade. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, "A Severe Spanish Villa for Easy Outdoor Living," 6 June 2018 Today, a Black Lives Matter banner hangs from the church’s facade. Jaweed Kaleem, latimes.com, "A California church flirts with an unusual social experiment: to never call police again," 30 May 2018 The plan is to build variances into the facade to give the feel of multiple buildings, Elliott said. Erin Hegarty, Naperville Sun, "Plans for a new 4-story development — with old Nichols Library as its centerpiece — moving forward," 26 May 2018 Related stories from Sacramento Bee Falling facade leads to end of historic Oak Park building Meet the Sacramento ‘Lady Birds’ who flew back home Oak Park’s Broadway corridor is a retail hot spot. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "Oak Park Brewing Co. closes after cockroaches, mice, weevils found in kitchen | The Sacramento Bee," 21 May 2018 Even theories that set out to preserve a conventional notion of spacetime end up concluding that something lurks behind the featureless facade. George Musser, Scientific American, "What Is Spacetime?," 8 May 2018 Instead, the facade was used for filming as to not reveal the actual location of their home for security purposes. George Stephens And Charles Jacobus, Houston Chronicle, "Husband in divorce process preventing home showing," 6 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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Learn More about facade

Dictionary Entries near facade

faburden

FAC

fac

facade

face

faceable

face-about

Statistics for facade

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \

Kids Definition of facade

: the face or front of a building

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Comments on facade

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