fac·​ile | \ ˈfa-səl How to pronounce facile (audio) \

Definition of facile

1a(1) : easily accomplished or attained a facile victory
(2) : shallow, simplistic I am not concerned … with offering any facile solution for so complex a problem— T. S. Eliot
b : used or comprehended with ease
c : readily manifested and often lacking sincerity or depth facile tears
2 archaic : mild or pleasing in manner or disposition
3a : ready, fluent facile prose
b : poised, assured a facile lecturer

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Other Words from facile

facilely \ ˈfa-​sə(l)-​lē How to pronounce facile (audio) \ adverb
facileness \ ˈfa-​səl-​nəs How to pronounce facile (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for facile



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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

Did You Know?

Would you have guessed that "facile" and "difficult" are related? They are! "Facile" comes to us through Middle French, from the Latin word facilis, meaning "easy, and ultimately from facere, meaning "to make or do." "Difficult" traces to "facilis" as well, but its history also involves the negative prefix dis-, meaning "not." "Facile" can mean "easy" or "easily done," as befits its Latin roots, but it now often adds the connotation of undue haste or shallowness, as in "facile answers to complex questions."

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Where conservative politics formerly wrapped that entitlement in layers of facile meritocratic rhetoric and free-market mysticism, Trumpism more aptly made his demands at gunpoint. David Roth, The New Republic, "How Don Jr. Became the Future of Trumpism," 27 Oct. 2020 His endorsement of rural sentimentality seems facile and uninformed: That there’s no mention of government farm subsidies is the first indication that the ad, which at first seems nonpartisan, leans into Democratic Party campaign rhetoric. Armond White, National Review, "Make Zack Snyder Nonpartisan Again," 21 Oct. 2020 Her facile political stances are as superficial as her cosmetic ruses and cartoonish costumes. Armond White, National Review, "Antebellum, a Race-Hustling Halloween Party," 7 Oct. 2020 Any number of facile explanations have been advanced. Matthew Walther, TheWeek, "Life is worth living," 15 Sep. 2020 It’s a book that doesn’t just describe the problem, but offers tools for working through it – not in a facile way, either. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, "Anti-racist book dethrones 'Hunger Games' prequel on best-seller list amid mass protests," 11 June 2020 Celebrating Herman’s simple wisdom is an entirely too facile way of glossing over a moment in which America may at last be at a breakthrough with its own history. Hank Stuever, Washington Post, "How Herman Munster can be so right about racism and still be a little bit wrong," 4 June 2020 The idea that things were working before this crisis is facile. Vicky Spratt, refinery29.com, "Why I’m Not Sure I Want To Leave Lockdown," 15 May 2020 If the movie’s points can be well taken, its rhetorical strategies are often facile. Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times, "‘System Error’ Review: Growing Pains," 28 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'facile.' 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 facile

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

History and Etymology for facile

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

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Time Traveler for facile

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

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Cite this Entry

“Facile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/facile. Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for facile



English Language Learners Definition of facile

disapproving : too simple : not showing enough thought or effort
disapproving : done or achieved in a way that is too easy
chiefly US, approving : working, moving, or performing well and very easily

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