\ 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 Judge Amy Coney Barrett is up for a nomination to the Supreme Court, and her hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee have been a complete farce. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "Why Republicans lie about their own terrible policies," 15 Oct. 2020 What's left feels like a sort of droll curiosity; a wisp of eat-the-rich fantasy and Gallic farce, lost in its own je ne sais quoi. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges can't quite make the surreal comedy French Exit fly: Review," 11 Oct. 2020 In a calmer spring—when facts weren't so slippery, social media so noxious, the country so ready to combust—what happened in Forks, Washington, on June 3 might have been a perfect plot for a farce. Lauren Smiley, Wired, "The True Story of the Antifa Invasion of Forks, Washington," 8 Oct. 2020 On Tuesday, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe declassified and released parts of the documents underlying his earlier revelation about Hillary Clinton’s role in orchestrating the Trump-Russia collusion farce. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "New Files Highlight Brennan’s Role Promoting Clinton’s Russia Collusion Narrative," 7 Oct. 2020 Others echo false conspiracy theories that the Black Lives Matter movement is a farce, the protesters paid and George Soros is pulling the strings. Washington Post, "Behind the armor: Men seek ‘purpose’ in protecting property despite charges of racism," 5 Oct. 2020 And that could make the rest of the playoffs a farce, something Rob Manfred and company likely feared most when planning a postseason that prioritized TV revenue over everything. Tim Dahlberg, Star Tribune, "Column: A season like no other gets playoffs like no other," 28 Sep. 2020 The courts that review the Administration’s executive orders regarding TikTok and WeChat have the opportunity to avoid repeating history as farce. Anupam Chander, Wired, "Trump’s TikTok Farce Ignores the Lessons of the Red Scare," 21 Sep. 2020 So now there’s the whole farce about student athletes, which was a term created just to continue to suffocate the players with amateurism. Washington Post, "Q&A with Jalen Rose: ‘If you get a chance to step on the NBA court even once, that’s a successful life’," 18 Sep. 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 24 Oct. 2020.

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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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