facade

noun
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

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 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

Wood facades break up the monotony of green and stainless steel on doors and paneling. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Come Take a Tour of America's Newest Nuclear Submarine," 7 Jan. 2019 Among those who take time to shape their opinions on architecture, the store’s facade will excite some and alienate others. Paul Dorpat, The Seattle Times, "The fate of the Rhodes Stores turned on a dime," 26 Oct. 2018 The textured white stucco facade first looked to me like a typical Baronial estate. Sam Lubell, New York Times, "A Glasgow Architect’s Masterpiece Is Damaged, but Not His Magic," 2 July 2018 Comparable canopied entrances — one to the hotel along Adams Street, the other to the apartments along Jackson Boulevard — would make those facades more inviting. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "Union Station plans on the wrong track," 25 June 2018 The Tudor facade has brick and half timbering walls rising to a steep roof. Janet Eastman, OregonLive.com, "Ex-Trail Blazer Rasheed Wallace sells $3 million mansion seen on 'Cribs' (photos)," 11 June 2018 This would include removing the giant display windows that were put in when the building was a shoe store and would give us more floor space while aiming to make the facade more aesthetically consistent with the other buildings on our street. Erin Sauder, Elgin Courier-News, "Down to Business: Mother and daughter knitting together a community," 8 June 2018 The facade features light-colored, undulating bands of metal or ceramic paneling and glazing intended to play off neighboring buildings and works of architecture. Richard Chang, latimes.com, "O.C. Museum of Art unveils designs for new building in Costa Mesa," 1 June 2018 There’s a city ordinance requiring parking decks to be screened with metal louvers or grates, but the imposing, blank facade still represented a daunting challenge to the building's appearance. Ely Portillo, charlotteobserver, "Here's how a developer is turning a drab parking deck into a huge Charlotte art piece | Charlotte Observer," 15 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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Dictionary Entries near facade

faburden

fac

FAC

facade

face

faceable

face-about

Statistics for facade

Last Updated

11 Apr 2019

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 How to pronounce facade (audio) \

Kids Definition of facade

: the face or front of a building

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More from Merriam-Webster on facade

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with facade

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for facade

Spanish Central: Translation of facade

Nglish: Translation of facade for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of facade for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about facade

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