fac·​sim·​i·​le | \ fak-ˈsi-mə-lē How to pronounce facsimile (audio) \

Definition of facsimile

1 : an exact copy A facsimile of the world's first computer was exhibited at the museum.
2 : a system of transmitting and reproducing graphic matter (such as printing or still pictures) by means of signals sent over telephone lines

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Choose the Right Synonym for facsimile

reproduction, duplicate, copy, facsimile, replica mean a thing made to closely resemble another. reproduction implies an exact or close imitation of an existing thing. reproductions from the museum's furniture collection duplicate implies a double or counterpart exactly corresponding to another thing. a duplicate of a house key copy applies especially to one of a number of things reproduced mechanically. printed 1000 copies of the lithograph facsimile suggests a close reproduction often of graphic matter that may differ in scale. a facsimile of a rare book replica implies the exact reproduction of a particular item in all details a replica of the Mayflower but not always in the same scale. miniature replicas of classic cars

Did You Know?

The facsimile machine (or fax machine) has been a staple of the modern office for a while now, and its name is much, much older. Fac simile is a Latin phrase meaning "make similar." English speakers began using facsimile as a noun meaning "an exact copy" in the late 1600s. In this sense, a facsimile might be a handwritten or hand drawn copy, or even a copy of a painting or statue. (Today, we also use the phrase "a reasonable facsimile" for a copy that is not exact but fairly close.) In the 1800s, people developed facsimile technology that could reproduce printed material via telegraph. Now, of course, we use telephone lines or wireless technology, and we usually call the resulting facsimile a fax.

Examples of facsimile in a Sentence

A facsimile of the world's first computer was exhibited in the museum. the family resemblance is so strong that the boy is virtually a pint-size facsimile of his father
Recent Examples on the Web The first gallery of the exhibition, with the facsimile of Raphael’s tomb, puts his passion for ancient Rome front and center. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "In Rome, the Definitive Raphael Show: Raffaello: 1520–1483," 2 Sep. 2020 The Strip, its fluorescent centerpiece, is the truest example of ersatz, with its miniature Eiffel Tower, facsimile of Venice complete with gondoliers, and gleaming Egyptian pyramid crowned by lasers. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "Las Vegas Is Too Much for Most—But That's Why I Love It," 2 Sep. 2020 With no live-game competition until the Sept. 13 opener, Friday’s practice was meant to serve as a gameday facsimile to get an approximation of how new or unproven players perform at full speed. Luke Johnson, NOLA.com, "What is lost when the NFL preseason is canceled? For the Saints, it's crucial player evaluations.," 28 Aug. 2020 Some of the best food on the fairgrounds is available elsewhere, either in carbon copy form or as a close facsimile. Star Tribune, "Welcome to the Star Tribune’s State Fair," 26 Aug. 2020 Chitchat usually ensues, providing a little bit of collegiality, and maybe even some warmth (or a facsimile of it) before the discussion of disease, death and politics resumes. Washington Post, "The most revealing moments on cable news happen when one big-name host hands off to another," 16 Aug. 2020 This includes Roberta pulling out a sheet of parchment to draw a facsimile of her original Mystery House design documents for the Netflix camera crew. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "High Score review: Netflix’s story of gaming’s “golden age” is honestly solid," 12 Aug. 2020 Meals, or a reasonable facsimile, get on the table. Pete Croatto, Good Housekeeping, "Paying for Childcare During a Pandemic Puts Parents in an Impossible Position," 4 June 2020 Viewing parties, a digital facsimile of communal moviegoing, are increasing. Jake Coyle, The Denver Post, "In coronavirus shutdown, a glimpse of life without movie theaters," 14 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'facsimile.' 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 facsimile

1691, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for facsimile

from the Latin phrase fac simile "make alike," from fac, singular imperative of facere "to make, do, perform" + simile, neuter of similis "like, similar" — more at fact, same entry 1

Note: The phrase fac simile was well-known from its occurrence in one of the Distichs of Cato, a collection of proverbial wisdom (3rd-4th centuries A.D.) commonly used as a Latin textbook from the Middle Ages into the 18th century (though its meaning in the distich is different): "Qui simulat verbis, nec corde est fidus amicus, tu quoque fac simile—sic ars deluditur arte." ("If someone makes a pretense in speech and is not a true friend, you do likewise as well—and so art will be duped by art.")

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Time Traveler for facsimile

Time Traveler

The first known use of facsimile was in 1691

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Last Updated

10 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Facsimile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/facsimile. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for facsimile


How to pronounce facsimile (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of facsimile

: an exact copy


fac·​sim·​i·​le | \ fak-ˈsi-mə-lē How to pronounce facsimile (audio) \
plural facsimiles

Kids Definition of facsimile

1 : an exact copy
2 : a system of sending and reproducing printed matter or pictures by means of signals sent over telephone lines

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