English isn’t always easy, but the origin of facilitate is nothing but: the word traces back to the Latin adjective facilis, meaning "easy." Other descendants of facilis in English include facile ("easy to do"), facility ("the quality of being easily performed"), faculty ("ability"), and difficult (from dis- plus facilis, which equals "not easy"). English isn’t the only Latin-influenced language that has facilis to thank for "easy" words: the word for "easy" is fácil in both Spanish and Portuguese, and facile in both Italian and French. The way that facilitating something makes it "easy" (or "easier," as it were) can be likened to paving a road to make traveling to one’s destination smoother. Similarly, when we say, for example, that applying a healthy layer of mulch around the base of a newly planted tree facilitates robust growth, we mean that it (figuratively) paves the way for, or brings about, the sapling’s success.
The strength of the inner identities that black women forged and nurtured during slavery facilitated the transition to freedom.—Darlene Clark Hine, Lure and Loathing, 1993What physical events might have facilitated the evolution of macroscopic animals?—Andrew H. Knoll, Scientific American, October 1991Nothing so facilitates writing as actually having something to say, yet the conditions under which, and the tools with which, writing is done can contribute to facility—or to difficulty.—Joseph Epstein, The Middle of My Tether, 1983
Cutting taxes may facilitate economic recovery.
Her rise to power was facilitated by her influential friends.
The moderator's role is to facilitate the discussion by asking appropriate questions. See More
Recent Examples on the WebTo facilitate these foraging expeditions, a diving duck’s legs are positioned farther to the rear of their body than would be a dabbler’s, whose mid-body legs make walking on dry, soggy ground much easier and less clumsy.—M.d. Johnson, Field & Stream, 30 Nov. 2023 There is a conspicuous absence of content designed to facilitate transformation from the inside out.—Surinder Kullar, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 When Harvard became an example of the challenges facing higher education, Shira Hoffer, a Jewish student at the school, offered her skills as a court mediator to facilitate dialogue and research for fellow students who had questions about the ongoing war or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.—Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 29 Nov. 2023 As of late Wednesday, the United States, Egypt, and Qatar continued urgent talks to broker an agreement between Israel and Hamas to extend the pause in fighting past its Thursday morning deadline to facilitate further releases.—Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, 29 Nov. 2023 As an example, Crabtree-Ireland has cited Flawless, a company that uses AI to facilitate foreign-language dubbing.—Gene Maddaus, Variety, 29 Nov. 2023 At the event, Hyundai named AWS as its preferred cloud provider to help facilitate digital transformation, and the Alexa Built-in experience coming to Hyundai’s next-generation vehicles, according to a news release shared with ESSENCE.—Jasmine Browley, Essence, 28 Nov. 2023 Levy signaled that the Israeli government was open to considering an extension of the ongoing pause in fighting to facilitate the release of more hostages.—Max Colchester, WSJ, 27 Nov. 2023 Russell helped facilitate some of these guests as a credited talent coordinator on the show.—Kaitlin Stevens, Peoplemag, 26 Nov. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'facilitate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
probably from Middle French faciliter "to make easy" (borrowed from Italian facilitare, verbal derivative of facilitàfacility) + -ate entry 4