Definition of facade
- a museum's east facade
- tried to preserve the facade of a happy marriage
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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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”).
First Known Use: circa 1681See Words from the same year
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