\ 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


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

Knoblich does not fret about such a Frankensteinian farce happening anytime soon, however. Bret Stetka, Scientific American, "Lab-Grown “Mini Brains” Can Now Mimic the Neural Activity of a Preterm Infant," 29 Aug. 2019 The decision is a farce, and, in keeping with the fine standards of the British higher-education sector, that only means that it is bound to be replicated by other institutions. Charlie Peters, National Review, "Glasgow University’s Curious Decision to Pay Itself Reparations," 28 Aug. 2019 Initially hailed by some Republicans, Whitley's effort proved a farce and led to his resignation. Gromer Jeffers Jr., Dallas News, "Democrats say anti-Hispanic tone set by Trump, Texas lawmakers creates 'toxic environment'," 5 Aug. 2019 The farce relies on legions of outsourced content moderators in sweatshop conditions who scrub and clean services like Facebook and YouTube of unimaginable volumes of unspeakable violence, explicit pornography, and incendiary hate. David Carroll, Quartz, "China embraces its surveillance state. The US pretends it doesn’t have one," 23 July 2019 Director Jason Winer and screenwriter Max Werner mostly treat the hero’s medical troubles as fodder for weak farce and cheap sentiment. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Dolph Lundgren in ‘The Tracker,’ Martin Freeman in ‘Ode to Joy’ and more VOD reviews," 8 Aug. 2019 But the novel’s guise of country farce belies a masterpiece of deeper spiritual conflicts. Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 22 July 2019 The Play That Goes Wrong Accident-prone thespians attempt to stage a 1920s murder mystery in this farce written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields. Matt Cooper, latimes.com, "SoCal theater listings, July 7-14: ‘The Play That Goes Wrong,’ ‘The Skin of Our Teeth’ and more," 5 July 2019 Classroom education is a farce; the merit system is an ongoing game of move-the-goalposts; and Elwood is enlisted on trips to transfer Nickel’s provisions to white businesses, or serve as free labor at the homes of the friends of Nickel’s minders. Mark Athitakis, USA TODAY, "'The Nickel Boys' is a literary achievement. Will Colson Whitehead win another Pulitzer?," 15 July 2019

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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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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More from Merriam-Webster on farce

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with farce

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for farce

Spanish Central: Translation of farce

Nglish: Translation of farce for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of farce for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about farce

Comments on farce

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


to make a temporary encampment

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