fac·​ile | \ ˈfa-səl How to pronounce facile (audio) \

Definition of facile

1a(1) : easily accomplished or attained a facile victory
(2) : shallow, simplistic I am not concerned … with offering any facile solution for so complex a problem— T. S. Eliot
b : used or comprehended with ease
c : readily manifested and often lacking sincerity or depth facile tears
2 archaic : mild or pleasing in manner or disposition
3a : ready, fluent facile prose
b : poised, assured a facile lecturer

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Other Words from facile

facilely \ ˈfa-​sə(l)-​lē How to pronounce facile (audio) \ adverb
facileness \ ˈfa-​səl-​nəs How to pronounce facile (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for facile



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Choose the Right Synonym for facile

easy, facile, simple, light, effortless, smooth mean not demanding effort or involving difficulty. easy is applicable either to persons or things imposing tasks or to activity required by such tasks. an easy college course facile often adds to easy the connotation of undue haste or shallowness. facile answers to complex questions simple stresses ease in understanding or dealing with because complication is absent. a simple problem in arithmetic light stresses freedom from what is burdensome. a light teaching load effortless stresses the appearance of ease and usually implies the prior attainment of artistry or expertness. moving with effortless grace smooth stresses the absence or removal of all difficulties, hardships, or obstacles. a smooth ride

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Would you have guessed that "facile" and "difficult" are related? They are! "Facile" comes to us through Middle French, from the Latin word facilis, meaning "easy, and ultimately from facere, meaning "to make or do." "Difficult" traces to "facilis" as well, but its history also involves the negative prefix dis-, meaning "not." "Facile" can mean "easy" or "easily done," as befits its Latin roots, but it now often adds the connotation of undue haste or shallowness, as in "facile answers to complex questions."

Examples of facile in a Sentence

But in the less palmy days of their marriage and the final years of his life, Lennon produced (with Yoko's help) shallow, facile recordings that cannibalized his early work. — Francine Prose, The Lives of the Muses, 2002 Melville shrank from atheism, and from all facile theisms. — John Updike, Hugging the Shore, (1983) 1984 … I saw that my old enemy was dead, Amy [Lowell], noble Amy. How I despised myself then for my facile self-pity and for my failure to die—how she seemed to have worsted me once again. — Conrad Aiken 14 May 1925, in Selected Letters of Conrad Aiken1978 This problem needs more than just a facile solution. He is a wonderfully facile writer.
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Recent Examples on the Web The movie is less interested in crafting facile moral judgments about what people did to survive than in weighing what those choices did to their minds and souls. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 14 Sep. 2021 Boyega had suggested a portly version of the young Sidney Poitier crossed with the facile charisma of the young Denzel Washington. Armond White, National Review, 18 Aug. 2021 The above examples are facile but hopefully clearly convey a point. Jeff Gorke, Forbes, 6 Sep. 2021 Industry segment, age, and race are all factors that complicate the numbers so many are ready to quote in a facile way. Erik Sherman, Forbes, 29 Aug. 2021 Shang-Chi’s central conflict goes beyond the classic one of good against evil, and far beyond the facile one of a son quarreling with his father. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 23 Aug. 2021 Repetition cultivates a deeper kind of attention, one that pushes past facile understanding to intimacy with the work. New York Times, 17 Aug. 2021 Jacquot isn’t doing anything so facile as criticizing past mores to praise our own, though the sense of progress is unmistakable. Richard Brod, The New Yorker, 14 July 2021 Its script proceeds merely to set up its reveals, which has the effect of shunting the dramatic weight of the movie to its rushed and facile ending. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 17 May 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for facile

borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin facilis "easy, accommodating, nimble," from fac-, stem of facere "to make, bring about, perform, do" + -ilis -ile entry 1 — more at fact

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Time Traveler for facile

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The first known use of facile was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near facile



facile princeps

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Last Updated

28 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Facile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/facile. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of facile

: too simple : not showing enough thought or effort
: done or achieved in a way that is too easy
: working, moving, or performing well and very easily

More from Merriam-Webster on facile

Nglish: Translation of facile for Spanish Speakers


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