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

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



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?

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."

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 In a lecturous speech delivered Thursday at Stanford University, the 44th president succeeded in the facile task of diagnosing the cause and effect of our poisonous social media ecosystem. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 22 Apr. 2022 Until then, the musical, a facile, satirical stage treatment of a far better movie, bounces from one insincere interlude to the next, doling out bits of exposition without establishing any compelling rationale to feel for its characters. Washington Post, 3 Mar. 2022 Biden more than anyone should realize that the facile belief that Donald Trump or other Republicans had it within their power to shut down the pandemic at any point was partisan opportunism and tripe. Rich Lowry, National Review, 24 Dec. 2021 Molière is not our contemporary in some facile and fatuous way. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 1 Feb. 2022 Marusic's point isn't to draw a facile parallel between Putinism and Nazism. Damon Linker, The Week, 22 Feb. 2022 Whatever the facile comparisons, familiar symbols and fearful words, this Canadian protest isn't a grassroots revolt or even a Prairie brushfire. Andrew Cohen, CNN, 3 Feb. 2022 That walking, back-of-the-head shot is one of the soggiest conventions of the steadicam era, a facile way of conveying characters’ own fields of vision while anchoring the action on them. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 25 Jan. 2022 The team would serve under the White House and be led by a person who is: politically independent, an expert in viral diseases, a facile coordinator of government agencies and business enterprises, and a follower of the science. Steve Brozak, Forbes, 21 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About facile

Time Traveler for facile

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About facile

Dictionary Entries Near facile



facile princeps

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for facile

Last Updated

25 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Facile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/facile. Accessed 18 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on facile

Nglish: Translation of facile for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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