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 facilely (audio) \ adverb
facileness \ ˈfa-​səl-​nəs How to pronounce facileness (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 And yet this kind of groping for scapegoats is facile. Sebastian Smee, chicagotribune.com, "Commentary: Is it bananas? Sure. Worth $120k? Why not?," 10 Dec. 2019 And yet this kind of groping for scapegoats is facile. Sebastian Smee, chicagotribune.com, "Commentary: Is it bananas? Sure. Worth $120k? Why not?," 10 Dec. 2019 And yet this kind of groping for scapegoats is facile. Sebastian Smee, chicagotribune.com, "Commentary: Is it bananas? Sure. Worth $120k? Why not?," 10 Dec. 2019 And yet this kind of groping for scapegoats is facile. Washington Post, "The Art Basel banana was art, and the peals of outrage were one layer of it," 9 Dec. 2019 Comparing red states and blue states this way is facile. Mona Charen, National Review, "Red-State Death, Blue-State Health?," 5 Dec. 2019 This is not some attempt by A Red Orchid Theater to cash in on the facile haunted house craze. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "A Red Orchid’s new ‘Grey House’ is Chicago’s most terrifying show," 22 Oct. 2019 These architects don’t traffic in facile solutions and flashy shapes. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Here’s an exclusive look at the latest design tweaks to the Obama Presidential Center. Is the third time the charm?," 27 Oct. 2019 As for Markgraf, her media experience with ESPN immediately made her the most facile communicator on Monday’s call among Stewart and Cordeiro, which is something that U.S Soccer needs. Grant Wahl, SI.com, "Questions Still Linger Around U.S. Soccer Despite Reorganization of Technical Staff," 12 Aug. 2019

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

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Facile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/facile. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for facile


How to pronounce facile (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on facile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for facile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with facile

Spanish Central: Translation of facile

Nglish: Translation of facile for Spanish Speakers

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