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



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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 He was greeted by a huge image of his own face projected onto the facade of the palatial hotel where his delegation stayed. Marc Champion, Fortune, "Meet the national leaders who stand to lose from a Biden victory," 20 Oct. 2020 Stewart sees, beyond the facade of people like Mike DeWine, what many other people in the state can see: a rise in white supremacy. Hanif Abdurraqib, The New Republic, "Living With White Supremacy in a Swing State," 19 Oct. 2020 Its entire facade, which faces Ashland Avenue, is comprised of sliding windows that allow for a hybrid of indoor-outdoor space on warmer days, while the glass roof helps natural sunlight pour in. Holly Baumbach, chicagotribune.com, "16 restaurants and bars with heated or enclosed patios for cold-weather dining in Chicago," 15 Oct. 2020 Playing for Gleyber Torres the day after the shortstop committed his ninth error, Wade hit a two-run homer off the facade of the second-deck in right field. Kristie Ackert, courant.com, "Yankees snap out of offensive funk behind DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit and pound the Marlins, 11-4," 26 Sep. 2020 The windowless, brick facade surrounding the first seven floors of the building housed the Bond's and J.C. Penney department stores, making the Terrace Plaza one of the first multi-use downtown developments. Randy Tucker, The Enquirer, "Old Terrace Plaza Hotel named one of the 11 most endangered historical buildings in the country," 24 Sep. 2020 What will be the stage area is completely surrounded by the famous brick basement facade of its Liverpool counterpart. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A Beatles superfan is opening a British-themed live music pub and restaurant in downtown Waukesha," 17 Sep. 2020 There’s no warning—just a warm, glamorous facade, and then the rabbit hole. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "The Women Making Conspiracy Theories Beautiful," 18 Aug. 2020 The hotel incorporates an original 1860s-era facade, saved from a three-alarm construction fire in 2015 that collapsed part of the 100 block of West Main Street in downtown Louisville. Dahlia Ghabour, The Courier-Journal, "This Whiskey Row bar was named one of the Top 10 Best Hotel Bars in the country," 11 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for facade

Time Traveler

The first known use of facade was circa 1681

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Statistics for facade

Last Updated

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Facade.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/facade. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for facade


How to pronounce facade (audio)

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


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

Kids Definition of facade

: the face or front of a building

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