Definition of facetious
- just being facetious
- a facetious remark
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the essay is a facetious commentary on the absurdity of war as a solution for international disputes
a facetious and tasteless remark about people in famine-stricken countries being spared the problem of overeating
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Facetious—which puzzle fans know is one of the few English words containing the vowels a, e, i, o, u in order—came to English from the Middle French word facetieux, which traces to the Latin word facetia, meaning "jest." Facetia seems to have made only one other lasting contribution to the English language: facetiae, meaning "witty or humorous writings or sayings." Facetiae, which comes from the plural of facetia and is pronounced \fuh-SEE-shee-ee\ or \fuh-SEE-shee-eye\, is a far less common word than facetious, but it does show up occasionally. For example, American essayist Louis Menand used it in his 2002 book American Studies to describe the early days of The New Yorker. "The New Yorker," he wrote, "started as a hectic book of gossip, cartoons, and facetiae."
First Known Use: 1594See Words from the same year
—used to describe speech that is meant to be funny but that is usually regarded as annoying, silly, or not proper
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