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, 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 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

In Bama the facade is apparent to residents like Nasiru, a father of five, who joined the government convoy in April. New York Times, "A Homecoming for Nigerians Who Fled Militants. All That’s Missing Is the ‘Home.’," 10 July 2018 Everything about Étoile, from the inviting outside facade to the intriguing interior design to the high quality service, is meant to convey a feeling of truly being in France. Houston Chronicle, "Etoile," 27 June 2018 Medieval churches from one century have facades created in styles generated decades or centuries later. Anthony Alofsin, The Atlantic, "A Defense of the Suburbs," 6 June 2018 The design, by JKRP Architects, isn’t knock-your-socks-off architecture, but the red-and-gray brick facade is better than average for Philadelphia these days. Inga Saffron, Philly.com, "In Queen Village, life imitates art, but with a Target store and too much parking," 24 May 2018 The front of the house is Italianate-style and clad in limestone, while the riverfront facade is contemporary. Candace Taylor, WSJ, "AOL Co-Founder’s D.C.-Area Home Asks $62.95 Million," 24 May 2018 Done in crisp white brick with black shutters, the facade is timelessly elegant. Roxanne Washington, cleveland.com, "Cool Spaces: Elegant white brick home one of five to be featured on Bath home/garden tour: (photos)," 9 May 2018 As a figure caught up in his crime spree so young, Abagnale eventually seeks a way out, realizing the showbiz facade is resulting in an empty life. Theodore P. Mahne, NOLA.com, "JPAS premieres 'Catch Me If You Can,' a criminally enjoyable hit," 17 Apr. 2018 By the 1970s, the Fayette Street facade was coated in gray Formstone and had become Peoples Pentecostal Church. Jacques Kelly, baltimoresun.com, "Jacques Kelly: Pieces of Baltimore past often surface in 'ghost' signs," 31 Mar. 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

7 Nov 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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