\ ˈfärs How to pronounce farce (audio) \
farced; farcing

Definition of farce

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : stuff
2 : to improve or expand (something, such as a literary work) as if by stuffing



Definition of farce (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a savory stuffing : forcemeat
2 : a light dramatic composition marked by broadly satirical comedy and improbable plot
3 : the broad humor characteristic of farce
4 : an empty or patently ridiculous act, proceeding, or situation the trial became a farce

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Did You Know?


When farce first appeared in English, it had to do with cookery, not comedy. In the 14th century, English adopted farce from Middle French, retaining its original meaning of "forcemeat" or "stuffing." The comedic sense of farce in English dates from the 16th century, when England imported a kind of knockabout comedy already popular in France. This dramatic genre had its origins in the 13th-century practice of augmenting, or "stuffing," Latin church texts with explanatory phrases. By the 15th century, a similar practice had arisen of inserting unscripted buffoonery into religious plays. Such farces - which included clowning, acrobatics, reversal of social roles, and indecency - soon developed into a distinct dramatic genre and spread rapidly in various forms throughout Europe.

Examples of farce in a Sentence

Noun an actor with a talent for farce the recall of a duly elected official for a frivolous reason is not democracy in action but a farce
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun What should have been a rare technology victory for European business soon turned into a farce, however. The Economist, "Charlemagne The botched launch of “Cyberpunk 2077”," 16 Jan. 2021 Outside the military, the Space Force is still sometimes treated as a farce. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, "Biden Inherits Trump’s Space Force," 26 Jan. 2021 Its season, already at the midpoint, has been a farce — an unyielding cycle of infections and shuttered games. Kurt Streeter, New York Times, "The College Football Champion Not in the Title Game," 4 Jan. 2021 There was a sardonic justice in the final twist that concluded the long and tangled story of Brexit, equal parts tragedy and farce. Matt Seaton, The New York Review of Books, "What’s Brexit to Do with the Price of Fish?," 24 Dec. 2020 Her feature debut, Promising Young Woman, confronts what’s often called rape culture through a brilliantly queasy blend of genres: revenge thriller, social satire, farce, romantic comedy. Lidija Haas, The New Republic, "Revenge Is Sweet in Promising Young Woman," 24 Dec. 2020 Technology had already revolutionized how the sperm and egg donor world worked, with cheap and popular DNA tests making donor anonymity a farce. New York Times, "The Sperm Kings Have a Problem: Too Much Demand," 8 Jan. 2021 President Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the election are veering into farce. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Coup or no coup, Trump sets dangerous precedents," 9 Dec. 2020 Among political leaders and the national press, there seems to be a consensus that Donald Trump’s ongoing efforts to overturn the 2020 election result, although reprehensible, are also something of a farce. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Attacks on Local Officials Are Spreading Hatred and Inciting Violence," 8 Dec. 2020

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for farce


Middle English farsen, from Anglo-French farsir, from Latin farcire


Middle English farse, from Middle French farce, from Vulgar Latin *farsa, from Latin, feminine of farsus, past participle of farcire

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The first known use of farce was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Farce.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/farce. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for farce



English Language Learners Definition of farce

: a funny play or movie about ridiculous situations and events
: the style of humor that occurs in a farce
disapproving : something that is so bad that it is seen as ridiculous


\ ˈfärs How to pronounce farce (audio) \

Kids Definition of farce

: something that is ridiculous Instead of being fair, the trial was a farce.

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