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
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 with its original meaning of "forcemeat" or "stuffing." The comedic sense of farce in English dates from the 16th century, when English imported the word again, this time to refer to 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.
"The company's guarantee is a farce," Jay complained. "The replacement they sent broke even more quickly than the original."
"Congress approved the funding with few reservations, and years passed before lawmakers seemed to comprehend their role in the farce." — Mark Mazzetti, The Atlantic, 27 Jan. 2018
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