fac·​ile ˈfa-səl How to pronounce facile (audio)
: easily accomplished or attained
a facile victory
: shallow, simplistic
I am not concerned … with offering any facile solution for so complex a problemT. S. Eliot
: used or comprehended with ease
: readily manifested and often lacking sincerity or depth
facile tears
archaic : mild or pleasing in manner or disposition
: ready, fluent
facile prose
: poised, assured
a facile lecturer
facilely adverb
facileness noun

Did you know?

Facile comes from the Latin facilis, meaning "easy," and facere, "to make or do." The adjective can mean "easy" or "easily done," as befits its Latin roots, but it now often adds the meaning of undue haste or shallowness, as in "facile answers to complex questions."

Choose the Right Synonym for facile

easy, facile, simple, light, effortless, smooth mean not demanding effort or involving difficulty.

easy is applicable either to persons or things imposing tasks or to activity required by such tasks.

an easy college course

facile often adds to easy the connotation of undue haste or shallowness.

facile answers to complex questions

simple stresses ease in understanding or dealing with because complication is absent.

a simple problem in arithmetic

light stresses freedom from what is burdensome.

a light teaching load

effortless stresses the appearance of ease and usually implies the prior attainment of artistry or expertness.

moving with effortless grace

smooth stresses the absence or removal of all difficulties, hardships, or obstacles.

a smooth ride

Examples of facile in a Sentence

But in the less palmy days of their marriage and the final years of his life, Lennon produced (with Yoko's help) shallow, facile recordings that cannibalized his early work. Francine Prose, The Lives of the Muses, 2002
Melville shrank from atheism, and from all facile theisms. John Updike, Hugging the Shore, (1983) 1984
… I saw that my old enemy was dead, Amy [Lowell], noble Amy. How I despised myself then for my facile self-pity and for my failure to die—how she seemed to have worsted me once again. Conrad Aiken 14 May 1925, in Selected Letters of Conrad Aiken1978
This problem needs more than just a facile solution. He is a wonderfully facile writer.
Recent Examples on the Web The commentary on social media is mostly facile, although a humiliating trick played on Nikki is devilishly funny and some of the flashback-recap sequences make zippy use of online video. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Jan. 2024 So to look at anything going on during a pandemic, the shifts that have occurred, as an acceleration of existing trends is facile. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 15 Dec. 2020 The facile idea was that, as Kara Swisher pointed out on her podcast, Musk was potentially the one person who could solve Twitter’s long-term profitability problem. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, 27 Nov. 2022 That approach will get us a lot further than facile comparisons to our closest relatives. Agustín Fuentes, Discover Magazine, 10 July 2018 In a period when figurative painting with distinct social narratives has been dominant, while facile abstract painting abounds, a fine survey of Morris’ savvy, often unexpected abstractions is especially disarming. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 19 Nov. 2022 But those additions are also facile targets, and still don't come close to explaining the increase in the sticker price for college, Akers said. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 5 Nov. 2022 Bercot’s facile visual style is not as sensual or tactile as Chéreau’s, who endowed the brothers played by Bruno Todeschini and Éric Caravaca with an unforgettably physical, sculptural presence. Armond White, National Review, 2 Nov. 2022 To study these underscores how misguided some have been to believe Sargent’s oeuvre merely the product of facile virtuosity. Barrymore Laurence Scherer, WSJ, 29 Oct. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'facile.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin facilis "easy, accommodating, nimble," from fac-, stem of facere "to make, bring about, perform, do" + -ilis -ile entry 1 — more at fact

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Time Traveler
The first known use of facile was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near facile

Cite this Entry

“Facile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/facile. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


fac·​ile ˈfas-əl How to pronounce facile (audio)
: easily done, handled, or achieved
: overly simple : shallow entry 1 sense 2
: easily experienced or displayed and often insincere
: working, moving, or performing with skill and ease : fluent
a facile writer
facilely adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on facile

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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