adjective fa·ce·tious \ fə-ˈsē-shəs \
|Updated on: 28 Jul 2018

Definition of facetious

1 : joking or jesting often inappropriately : waggish
  • just being facetious
2 : meant to be humorous or funny : not serious
  • a facetious remark





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Examples of facetious in a Sentence

  1. The portrait is good, the prose embroidered here with the facetious parlance—is that the word?—of clubs. —V. S. Pritchett"Club and Country," 1949, in A Man of Letters1985
  2. Nor was Liebling seriously asserting that his facetious bit of investigation into Tin Pan Alley history constituted a refutation of Sartre's philosophy. —Raymond SokolovWayward Reporter1980
  3. … old ladies shrivelling to nothing in a forest of flowers and giant facetious get-well cards … —John UpdikeTrust Me1962
  4. the essay is a facetious commentary on the absurdity of war as a solution for international disputes

  5. a facetious and tasteless remark about people in famine-stricken countries being spared the problem of overeating

Recent Examples of facetious from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'facetious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

facetious Is Chock-full of Vowels

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."

Origin and Etymology of facetious

borrowed from Middle French facetieux, facecieux, from facetie "joke, jesting remark" (borrowed from Latin facētia, facētiae "cleverness, wit," in plural sense, "amusing things, jests") + -eux (going back to Latin -ōsus -ous) — more at facetiae

Synonym Discussion of facetious

witty, humorous, facetious, jocular, jocose mean provoking or intended to provoke laughter. witty suggests cleverness and quickness of mind.
    • a witty remark
humorous applies broadly to anything that evokes usually genial laughter and may contrast with witty in suggesting whimsicality or eccentricity.
    • humorous anecdotes
facetious stresses a desire to produce laughter and may be derogatory in implying dubious or ill-timed attempts at wit or humor.
    • facetious comments
jocular implies a usually habitual fondness for jesting and joking.
    • a jocular fellow
jocose is somewhat less derogatory than facetious in suggesting habitual waggishness or playfulness.
    • jocose proposals

FACETIOUS Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of facetious for English Language Learners

  • —used to describe speech that is meant to be funny but that is usually regarded as annoying, silly, or not proper

FACETIOUS Defined for Kids


adjective fa·ce·tious \ fə-ˈsē-shəs \

Definition of facetious for Students

: intended or trying to be funny
  • a facetious remark



Headscratcher for facetious

Facetious is one of the few words in English that contain all the vowels (not including “y”) in alphabetical order.

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having an air of easy unconcern

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