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

The architects at the R.I.S.D. project developed a poignant response: a plan to cast the facades of threatened buildings in concrete. Cornelia Dean, New York Times, "‘We Cannot Save Everything’: A Historic Neighborhood Confronts Rising Seas," 8 July 2019 But Mary Louise wasn’t distracted by the facade of Renata’s fabulous life (the way many people at Amabella’s disco Halloween party were), homing in how little Renata has left. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Big Little Lies season 2, episode 5: “Kill Me” shows how cunning Mary Louise really is," 8 July 2019 Bravo Stars Unite for N.Y.C. Pride Parade Burtka shared his own image from the event, which showed the family of four posing with the brick facade of the Stonewall Inn in the background. Jen Juneau, PEOPLE.com, "Neil Patrick Harris 'Honored' to Celebrate at N.Y.C. Pride Parade with His Family: 'Just Love'," 1 July 2019 The building, which incorporated the historic facade of the former Sage-Allen & Co. department store, would be reconfigured to add 10 new units. Kenneth R. Gosselin, courant.com, "$100M plan to redevelop Hartford’s Pratt Street would add apartments, retail and dining in downtown," 20 June 2019 The faces in Paris, like the facades of the buildings, are worth close scrutiny. Jay Mcinerney, Vogue, "Why, Oh Why Do I Love Paris? Jay McInerney Counted the Ways in a 1986 Story for Vogue, Republished Here in Solidarity With the French Capital, Where Notre-Dame Burned," 16 Apr. 2019 Along with the money, the winner gets a solo exhibition in the museum and the opportunity to create a 50-foot public installation on the facade of a new art storage facility in the Bushwick section of the borough. ... Irene Plagianos, WSJ, "Brooklyn Museum to Award $25,000 Emerging Artist Prize," 4 Apr. 2019 Much of the new facade would include new decorative stone and brick, plus fabric awnings over the windows and a new canopy over the front door, the memo states. Rick Kambic, chicagotribune.com, "Jameson’s Charhouse wants to open in Vernon Hills at former TGI Fridays," 24 June 2019 The trail then leads inland to Rouen, where Monet produced an epic series of cathedral facade. National Geographic, "Step into Impressionist paintings on this French tour," 17 Apr. 2019

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

18 Jul 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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