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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for facade


face, forehead, forepart, front


back, rear, rearward, reverse

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, 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

With its faux-Egyptian facade and courtyard, the Egyptian is one of the most recognizable sites on Hollywood Boulevard. Ryan Faughnderstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "What happens when Netflix buys Hollywood’s iconic Egyptian Theatre? It’s complicated," 6 Sep. 2019 Meticulous attention to detail went into renovating this home while respecting the historic integrity and retaining the authenticity of its classic 1924 facade. Monica Lander, The Mercury News, "Sponsored: Newly updated chateau near the beach in Santa Cruz County," 27 Aug. 2019 For the second year in a row, Akron businesses in designated districts will improve their exterior facades through grants from Akron’s Great Streets initiative. Robin Goist, cleveland.com, "Businesses in five Akron neighborhoods to improve facades with Great Streets grants," 26 Aug. 2019 Amid alleys crammed with gelato shops, cafés, and souvenir stores, fifth- and sixth-century churches, mausoleums, and baptisteries stand out with their ochre and fawn facades. Prathap Nair, National Geographic, "Visit Italy’s mesmerizing city of mosaics," 20 Aug. 2019 Its facade is expected to closely match the historic main school building, officials said. Steve Schering, chicagotribune.com, "Fenwick breaks ground on new 350-space on-campus parking garage," 16 Aug. 2019 His nice-guy facade also belies a man who loves messing with other managers - especially Neil Warnock. SI.com, "Premier League Managers: Ranking All 20 Bosses by How Hard They Are," 6 Aug. 2019 One of the most compelling aspects of the third season of The Handmaid's Tale is its gradual expansion of Gilead's power structure beyond its regimented, puritanical facade. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Handmaid's Tale," 1 Aug. 2019 The skyscraper with its dramatic, undulating facade (a refreshing departure from the surrounding glass towers) offers 109 luxury condominiums with 21 different floor plans, ranging from studios and duplex lofts to two-bedrooms and penthouses. Samantha Swenson, ELLE Decor, "An Apartment in This Dramatic Tower in Long Island City is Your Next Investment," 26 July 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.

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

Dictionary Entries near facade








Statistics for facade

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for facade

The first known use of facade was circa 1681

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for facade



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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on facade

What made you want to look up facade? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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