fa·​ce·​tious | \ fə-ˈsē-shəs How to pronounce facetious (audio) \

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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Other Words from facetious

facetiously adverb
facetiousness noun

Synonyms for facetious


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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Frequently Asked Questions About facetious

Is facetious insulting?

It is not inherently insulting to say that someone is being facetious (although it may imply dubious or ill-timed attempts at wit or humor). The word comes from the Latin facetia, meaning "jest."

What is the difference between facetious and sarcastic?

Facetious may be defined as "joking or jesting often inappropriately" or "not serious." Sarcastic, on the other hand, while still concerned with humor, tends to imply a more caustic or biting quality that is often intended to cause pain.

Is facetious the same as facetiousness?

Facetious is an adjective ("not serious," "waggish"), while facetiousness is a noun ("the state or quality of being facetious"). The adverb form is facetiously.

Examples of facetious in a Sentence

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 Nor was Liebling seriously asserting that his facetious bit of investigation into Tin Pan Alley history constituted a refutation of Sartre's philosophy. — Raymond Sokolov, Wayward Reporter, 1980 … old ladies shrivelling to nothing in a forest of flowers and giant facetious get-well cards … — John Updike, Trust Me, 1962 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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Recent Examples on the Web The original name-puns are facetious and wonderful. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Asterix Comes to America," 16 June 2020 Sanders was being facetious, but a presidential candidate has, in fact, faced criticism over a third-grade essay. Ryan Teague Beckwith, Bloomberg.com, "Biden Wants to Do Away With Plastic Straws: Campaign Update," 5 May 2020 While a one-vote victory is facetious, the hypothetical ratio of deficit to surplus is an excellent way to see how badly the distribution of voters-by-state punished the losing candidate. Time, "The High-Risk Strategy That Could Hand Democrats the White House," 17 Sep. 2019 Donatella’s appeal—her fame transcends the confines of the fashion bubble—is a many-faceted, flashy, funny, facetious, life-enhancing thing. Vogue, "The Women Designers Who Changed The Way We Dress," 14 Aug. 2019 What was promoted as an exchanging of rings was better characterized as a facetious litany of moments designed to go viral, artifice presented with frenzied urgency but no earnest emotion. Aja Romano, Vox, "Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau’s giant YouTuber wedding married reality TV to the internet," 30 July 2019 By turns facetious, juvenile, cruel and profane in tone, the channel repeatedly reveals personal information and photos, some of them intimate, of the family members of police officers, sometimes with intimate social-media photos. Paul Mozur, New York Times, "In Hong Kong Protests, Faces Become Weapons," 26 July 2019 The adjectives, of course, are facetious; none of Mussina's neighbors on the all-time ERA list have any chance of sniffing the Hall of Fame anytime soon. Dave Sheinin, courant.com, "It took years, and a sabermetrics revolution, to put Mike Mussina in the Hall of Fame," 19 July 2019 The Werewolf of Washington’ aren’t too scary, and the funny bits tend to come out fitfully facetious. John Kelly, Washington Post, "In 1973, there was a werewolf in the White House — at least in this B movie," 8 Jan. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of facetious

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for 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

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Time Traveler for facetious

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The first known use of facetious was in 1594

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Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Facetious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/facetious. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for facetious


How to pronounce facetious (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of facetious

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


fa·​ce·​tious | \ fə-ˈsē-shəs How to pronounce facetious (audio) \

Kids Definition of facetious

: intended or trying to be funny a facetious remark

Other Words from facetious

facetiously adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on facetious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for facetious

Spanish Central: Translation of facetious

Nglish: Translation of facetious for Spanish Speakers

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