facade

noun
fa·​cade | \ fə-ˈsäd How to pronounce facade (audio) \
variants: or less commonly façade

Essential Meaning of facade

1 : the front of a building the facade of the bank the windowless façade of the skyscraper a brick facade
2 : a way of behaving or appearing that gives other people a false idea of your true feelings or situation They were trying to preserve the facade of a happy marriage. I could sense the hostility lurking behind her polite facade.

Full 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for facade

Synonyms

Antonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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, its “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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The post-Haussmann-style building has long stunned from the outside, with a facade dating back to 1901 designed by French architect François Durel. Rachel Chang, Travel + Leisure, 1 Sep. 2021 The first choice is another big-box chain, which simply needs to polish the tile and put up a new facade. New York Times, 17 Aug. 2021 The Mexican restaurant is known for its decor, which includes a pink facade and large indoor waterfall, as well as its cliff divers and skits that feature an excitable actor in a gorilla costume. Thomas Peipert, ajc, 13 Aug. 2021 If this 5,400-pound Mercedes-Benz feels as if chiseled from a solid block of granite on a Ringstrasse facade, it’s because every fastener, seam and surface is engineered and finished for the long haul, and then hand-assembled in Graz, Austria. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 7 Aug. 2021 The west side of the building facing Broadway now will be torn down and replaced with a new facade, with the east side converted for production operations and office space. Doug George, chicagotribune.com, 4 Aug. 2021 Lianda Sjerps-Koomen, the firm’s business development manager, walks me through a factory floor the size of an aircraft hangar, pointing out teams of workers pulling together the various layers of raw materials for a wall facade. Willem Marx, Scientific American, 29 July 2021 After a first stage in which demonstrators were attacked and detained by security forces, the Cuban government is now erecting a legal facade to legitimize its actions, said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director for Human Rights Watch. Santiago Pérez, WSJ, 20 July 2021 With a dark wooden facade supported by 12 columns, the elevated tree house has a large pine growing through its center. Sarah Molano, CNN, 14 July 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About facade

Time Traveler for facade

Time Traveler

The first known use of facade was circa 1681

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near facade

FAC

facade

face

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for facade

Last Updated

26 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Facade.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/facade. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for facade

facade

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

Kids Definition of facade

: the face or front of a building

More from Merriam-Webster on facade

Nglish: Translation of facade for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of facade for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about facade

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!