[ fuh-see-shuhs ]
/ fəˈsi ʃəs /
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See synonyms for: facetious / facetiously / facetiousness on Thesaurus.com

not meant to be taken seriously or literally: a facetious remark.
amusing; humorous.
lacking serious intent; concerned with something nonessential, amusing, or frivolous: a facetious person.


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Origin of facetious

First recorded in 1585–95; from Middle French facecieux, facetieux, from facetie “a jest,” from Latin facētia “a jest, witticism” (see facetiae) + -ious

synonym study for facetious

2. See humorous1.

usage note for facetious

A term labeled Facetious in this dictionary is one that is used consciously for humorous or playful effect.



facetious , factious, factitious
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does facetious mean?

Facetious is most commonly used to describe comments that are intentionally unserious, especially in a way that’s meant to be humorous and perhaps a bit inappropriate or provocative.

It can also be used to describe someone making such comments. For example, a person might excuse their own joking comment by saying “I’m just being facetious.”

The term is somewhat similar to sarcastic, but not all facetious comments are sarcastic, and not all sarcastic comments are intended to be facetious.

Example: Instead of sitting there and making facetious comments, why don’t you try making an actual suggestion?

Where does facetious come from?

The first records of facetious come from the late 1500s. It comes from the Old French facetieux, from facétie, meaning “witty saying.” It ultimately comes from the Latin word facētus, meaning “clever” or “witty.” (This is also the basis of the word facete, an obsolete synonym of facetious, as well as the word facetiae, which refers to amusing or witty remarks or writings.)

When a word is labeled facetious in the dictionary, it means it’s used intentionally for humorous or playful effect. The same thing goes for real life: facetious comments are not meant to be taken seriously. They’re often playful or intended to be a bit irreverent. If a person is being facetious, they’re intentionally being unserious, typically for a humorous effect, or perhaps to tease someone.

Facetious is often used as a near-synonym of sarcastic, in the sense that someone who’s being facetious should not be taken literally or seriously. Sometimes, though, when facetious comments aren’t recognized as jokes, they can put off or offend people. When this happens, the person who made the comments might apologize by saying, “Sorry, I was just being facetious.” Translation: “Don’t take what I said seriously.”

Fun fact: the adverb facetiously is one of the few words in the English language that has all of the vowels in alphabetical order.

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What are some other forms related to facetious?

  • facetiousness (noun)
  • facetiously (adverb)

What are some synonyms for facetious?

What are some words that share a root or word element with facetious



What are some words that often get used in discussing facetious?

How is facetious used in real life?

Facetious is sometimes used in a negative way to criticize someone’s lack of seriousness or irreverent humor.



Try using facetious!

Which of the following words is LEAST likely to describe a comment considered facetious?

A. sincere
B. sardonic
C. ironic
D. sarcastic

How to use facetious in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for facetious

/ (fəˈsiːʃəs) /

characterized by levity of attitude and love of jokinga facetious person
jocular or amusing, esp at inappropriate timesfacetious remarks

Derived forms of facetious

facetiously, adverbfacetiousness, noun

Word Origin for facetious

C16: from Old French facetieux, from facetie witty saying; see facetiae
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012