Origin of facetious
synonym study for facetious
usage note for facetious
OTHER WORDS FROM facetious
Words nearby facetious
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.
Did you know ... ?
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.
Watching @UrbanSwordfish play Madden. I am making facetious comments and possibly being a bit annoying. Boy has the patience of a saint.
— Becky Fantham (@hungrybecky) October 13, 2012
Sorry haters but all of my flaws are ironic. If you’ve ever seen me make any kind of mistake I was being facetious.
— Andy Letai (@AALetai) March 30, 2020
I'm being facetious, funny, and a little offside. ;-)
— Dan Pontefract (@dpontefract) October 16, 2019
Try using facetious!
Which of the following words is LEAST likely to describe a comment considered facetious?
How to use facetious in a sentence
Even seemingly facetious Laundrie “stans” acknowledge this grim reality.Incels, Men’s Rights Groups, and Culture-War Trolls Glom Onto Gabby Petito’s Death|Kate Briquelet|September 27, 2021|The Daily Beast
I was full of fentanyl—an opioid stronger than heroin—which seemed to embolden my facetious nature.
For example, Preston likes to avoid sounding angry because she has found a friendly—even facetious—tone can defuse tense situations.How to break free of the bystander effect and help someone in trouble|Tara Santora|March 2, 2021|Popular-Science
This is not by any means a facetious question: Do you think alcohol should also be made illegal?
In recent weeks, McHale has used The Soup to promote Community—with facetious knowingness, of course.
At the club, they were far too facetious; even Randulf rallied him in a disagreeable manner.Skipper Worse|Alexander Lange Kielland
The late Bishop used to make a rather facetious remark about this tomb.
You leave me to starve, for all you care; and you grow mighty facetious because I earn my bread.Memoirs of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush|William Makepeace Thackeray
One facetious sportsman had once made a rule of setting the senior day-room chimney on fire every term.The Gold Bat|P. G. Wodehouse
The manager was facetious—said he was "too thin for the theatre."