The Meaning of Facetious: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of facetious? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word facetious, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word facetious mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language and other dictionaries like American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and Collins English Dictionary, the word facetious is an adjective that describes something or someone who is joking, jesting, humorous or funny, often in a way or timing that is inappropriate. Something that is facetious might elicit laughter like a witty saying or joke containing humor like a facetious remark, but it could also be considered a tasteless remark if the levity of attitude was in poor timing. This is a very useful word to know. It is very specific and can be used to describe various different people and humorous – though sometimes inappropriate – situations.

Many different languages contain words that mean facetious. You might notice that a couple of these words look and are pronounced similarly to the word facetious. These are called cognates, which are usually formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations of facetious is provided by Word Sense.

  •  German: spaßig‎, witzig‎, lustig‎, humorvoll‎
  •  Bulgarian: забавен‎
  •  Finnish: hyväntuulinen‎, leikillinen‎
  •  Japanese: 剽軽‎ (hyōkin)
  •  Swedish: skämtsam‎
  •  Italian: faceto‎
  •  Dutch: grappig‎
  •  Hungarian: tréfálkozó‎
  •  Mandarin: 轻率的‎, 滑稽的‎
  •  French: facétieux‎
  •  Russian: шутли́вый‎, шу́точный‎, заба́вный‎
  •  Greek: ευτράπελος‎
  •  Portuguese: faceto‎
  •  Spanish: faceto‎ (masc.)

What is the origin of the word facetious?

According to Etymonline, the word facetious has been used since Middle English in the 1590s. This comes from the 16th century French facétieux and Old French facetieux, from the French facétie, a 15th century word meaning a joke. This comes from the Latin facetiae meaning jests or witticisms, from the singular Latin facetia/Latin facētia, from the Latin adjective facetus/facētus meaning witty or elegant. This is of unknown origin but is possibly related to facis meaning torch. One cal add the suffixes ly or ness to make the related words facetiously (adv.) and facetiousness (n.)

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word facetious?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word facetious. These are called synonyms. Synonyms are words and phrases that have the same definition as a given word or phrase. These are useful to know if you are trying to expand your vocabulary or avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms is provided by Thesaurus

  •  sarcastic
  •  ludicrous
  •  whimsical
  •  satirical
  •  witty
  •  not serious
  •  clever
  •  farcical
  •  frivolous
  •  ironic
  •  laughable
  •  dry
  •  salty
  •  smart
  •  ridiculous
  •  jesting
  •  playful
  •  waggish
  •  blithe
  •  tongue-in-cheek
  •  funny
  •  jocose
  •  flippant
  •  comical
  •  sportive
  •  gay
  •  punning
  •  flip
  •  kidding
  •  merry
  •  joshing
  •  fanciful
  •  indecorous
  •  jocular
  •  wry
  •  amusing
  •  irreverent
  •  putting one on
  •  capering
  •  joking
  •  droll
  •  wisecracking
  •  sprightly
  •  pulling one’s leg
  •  humorous
  •  pleasant
  •  comic

There are also numerous different words that mean the opposite of the word facetious. These opposite words are called antonyms, which are also useful to know if you are working on your English vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word facetious is also provided by Thesaurus.

  •  downbeat
  •  reflective
  •  thoughtful
  •  staid
  •  intent
  •  unsmiling
  •  businesslike
  •  pokerfaced
  •  bound
  •  steady
  •  funereal
  •  honest
  •  solemn
  •  meditative
  •  determined
  •  sincere
  •  deliberate
  •  grave
  •  sober
  •  austere
  •  bound and determined
  •  contemplative
  •  humorless
  •  weighty
  •  serious
  •  go for broke
  •  unhumorous
  •  grim
  •  cold sober
  •  long-faced
  •  sedate
  •  resolute
  •  stern
  •  somber
  •  set
  •  severe
  •  earnest
  •  resolved
  •  deadpan
  •  pensive
  •  no-nonsense
  •  genuine

How can facetious be used in a sentence?

The word facetious can be used in many different sentences in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definition. You can also try making flashcards or creating a quiz for yourself to memorize their definitions. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today. Below are several examples of facetious that you can reference when forming your own sentences. 

Robbie’s joke about the famine was facetious – it was very funny, but inappropriately timed after the group viewed Heather’s picture of the starving children she helped in Ethiopia. No one knew whether to laugh or cringe – it was a sad event and a serious subject, but the joke was very witty.

The man thought that his facetious joke was taken as a pleasantry, but everyone thought it was offensive and ill-timed. He personally thought the euphemism was funny.

Michelle thought she would lift the serious times with a facetious statement for comic effect, but when she was met with a serious question from the aggrieved clients she could only release a stutter. Their snobbishness was much more present than their sense of humor about the financial topics.

When Heather was giving the presentation, she thought she was being funny. However, the audience wasn’t sure if she was being facetious or serious. If it was the latter, that meant she was incredibly ill-prepared. Heather was the subject of ridicule for months to come.

The booksellers’ catalogues included many facetious entries in the spirit of April Fools’ Day. They listed the same book over and over again in various editions – fifth edition, twelfth edition; everything. The children who browsed the catalogue found it very funny.

Overall, the word facetious refers to a piece of good humor that is often inappropriate humor or humor that is made at an inappropriate time. Many things can be facetious, including a facetious question, facetious book, facetious story, and more. The word facetious has three syllables, fa-ce-tious. Try using this new word of the day in a sentence today and adding it to your vocabulary!


  1. facetious: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. FACETIOUS Synonyms: 49 Synonyms & Antonyms for FACETIOUS | Thesaurus 
  3. SERIOUS Synonyms: 110 Synonyms & Antonyms for SERIOUS | Thesaurus 
  4. facetious | Origin and meaning of facetious | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Facetious | Definition of Facetious | Merriam-Webster