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


one-dimensional, shallow, skin-deep, superficial


deep, profound

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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

Nike compounded their impertinence by announcing withdrawal of production for facile reasoning that it could be seen as racist symbol. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Econometer: Did Nike make the right move recalling Betsy Ross shoes?," 12 July 2019 Rejecting facile judgements, Amherst College historian Martha Saxton’s brilliant... Kathleen Duval, WSJ, "‘The Widow Washington’ Review: Mary, Mother of George," 7 June 2019 It all moves along at a snappy enough pace, but sometimes feels more facile than insightful. New York Times, "‘Late Night’ Review: Emma Thompson Takes On the Old Boys of Network TV," 5 June 2019 Their initially facile relationship quickly deepens and becomes all consuming. Donal Ryan, WSJ, "Five Best: Donal Ryan on Novels About College Days," 13 Sep. 2018 But the comparison has always been a facile one, and the White House and its surrogates have not been able to prove any wrongdoing by their counterparts. Murray Waas, Vox, "Exclusive: Paul Manafort advised White House on how to attack and discredit investigation of President Trump," 14 Dec. 2018 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

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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Last Updated

22 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for facile

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

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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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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

Comments on facile

What made you want to look up facile? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to complain fretfully

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