[fuh-see-shuh s]


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.

Origin of facetious

1585–95; facete + -ious; see facetiae
Related formsfa·ce·tious·ly, adverbfa·ce·tious·ness, nounnon·fa·ce·tious, adjectivenon·fa·ce·tious·ly, adverbnon·fa·ce·tious·ness, nounun·fa·ce·tious, adjectiveun·fa·ce·tious·ly, adverbun·fa·ce·tious·ness, noun
Can be confusedfacetious factious factitious fictional fictitious

Synonyms for facetious

2. See humorous1.

Usage note

A term labeled Facetious in this dictionary is one that is used consciously for humorous or playful effect.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for facetious

Contemporary Examples of facetious

  • This is not by any means a facetious question: Do you think alcohol should also be made illegal?

    The Daily Beast logo
    Live Chat: Let's Talk About Drugs

    David Frum

    January 11, 2013

  • In recent weeks, McHale has used The Soup to promote Community—with facetious knowingness, of course.

    The Daily Beast logo
    From Soup to Spotlight

    Nicole LaPorte

    September 13, 2009

Historical Examples of facetious

  • Only Maulo, the camp jester, hurled a facetious comment at the corpse.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • “You can be facetious, I see,” the latter observed carelessly.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • And this remark, intended to be facetious, was after all pretty close to the literal truth.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • "Then it will pass, of course," rejoined the facetious physician.

  • Indeed, he found Mr. Trenchard a most pleasant and facetious gentleman.

    Mistress Wilding

    Rafael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for facetious



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

Word Origin and History for facetious

1590s, from French facétieux, from facétie "a joke" (15c.), from Latin facetia "jest, witticism," from facetus "witty, elegant, fine, courteous," of unknown origin, perhaps related to facis "torch."

It implies a desire to be amusing, often intrusive or ill-timed. Related: Facetiously; facetiousness. "Facetiæ in booksellers' catalogues, is, like curious, a euphemism for erotica." [Fowler]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper