fac·​ile | \ˈfa-səl \

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 \ adverb
facileness \ˈfa-​səl-​nəs \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for facile


one-dimensional, shallow, skin-deep, superficial


deep, profound

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

But Holmes was no slouch: a facile mythmaker who brooked no dissent and presided over the workplace from hell. Stephen Phillips, SFChronicle.com, "New tech books: ‘Bad Blood,’ ‘Live Work Work Work Die,’ ‘The Efficiency Paradox’," 22 June 2018 Rather than involving itself with facile life-determines-art equations, or condescending to its viewers in the manner of an overeager biopic, this piece trusts its own material and approaches it with admirable restraint. Jeremy Eichler, BostonGlobe.com, "Kafka encaged, writing to his father," 18 June 2018 He was matched beautifully by Griffey’s big, colorful tenor sound and the facile work and superb blend of Stober’s soprano and O’Connor’s mezzo-soprano. Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Symphony unleashes joyous roar of Beethoven's Ninth," 16 June 2018 As Schur reasoned, an all-knowing not-robot would have to be facile with language—and know how to calmly navigate questions from irate humans. Laura Bradley, HWD, "How The Good Place Built Janet, TV’s Most Scene-Stealing Not-a-Robot," 4 June 2018 Its philosophizing can seem at times overly facile, or overwrought. Stephen Phillips, San Francisco Chronicle, "New tech books: ‘Conspiracy,’ ‘Broad Band,’ ‘The Truth Machine’," 1 June 2018 The social commentary comes in the form of facile, between-song patter from members of the hard-working ensemble. Andrea Simakis, cleveland.com, "'The Royale,' inspired by boxer Jack Johnson, brings fight for freedom to stage (preview)," 13 May 2018 On the page, Wamariya and the journalist Elizabeth Weil set out to sabotage facile uplift. Ann Hulbert, The Atlantic, "The Girl Who Smiled Beads Defies Easy Uplift," 24 Apr. 2018 However, such facile comparisons fail to account for the insidious nature of fitness, the difficulty in managing it, and the long-term problems both on and off the bike that are commonly associated with it. Eben Weiss, Outside Online, "The Many Pitfalls of Cycling Fitness," 24 Apr. 2018

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

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

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English Language Learners Definition of facile

: too simple : not showing enough thought or effort

: done or achieved in a way that is too easy

: working, moving, or performing well and very easily

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More from Merriam-Webster on facile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with facile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for facile

Spanish Central: Translation of facile

Nglish: Translation of facile for Spanish Speakers

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