[fas-il or, esp. British, -ahyl]


moving, acting, working, proceeding, etc., with ease, sometimes with superficiality: facile fingers; a facile mind.
easily done, performed, used, etc.: a facile victory; a facile method.
easy or unconstrained, as manners or persons.
affable, agreeable, or complaisant; easily influenced: a facile temperament; facile people.

Origin of facile

1475–85; < Latin facilis that can be done, easy, equivalent to fac(ere) to do, make + -ilis -ile
Related formsfac·ile·ly, adverbfac·ile·ness, nouno·ver·fac·ile, adjectiveo·ver·fac·ile·ly, adverbun·fac·ile, adjectiveun·fac·ile·ly, adverb
Can be confusedfacile facilitate facility felicitate

Synonyms for facile

facile princeps

[fah-ki-le pring-keps; English fas-uh-lee prin-seps]


easily the first or best.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for facile

Contemporary Examples of facile

Historical Examples of facile

  • This was his special gift and as usual in such cases he was not a facile writer.

  • I cannot brush aside the problem by a facile reference to reincarnation.

    Mountain Meditations

    L. Lind-af-Hageby

  • Consequently the poisoners of the wells of truth had a facile task.

    England and Germany

    Emile Joseph Dillon

  • A Latin tag came into my head about the facile descent into the abyss.

    The Arrow of Gold

    Joseph Conrad

  • Mrs. Austen, in spite of her facile digestion, gagged at it.

    The Paliser case

    Edgar Saltus

British Dictionary definitions for facile



easy to perform or achieve
working or moving easily or smoothly
without depth; superficiala facile solution
archaic relaxed in manner; easygoing
Derived Formsfacilely, adverbfacileness, noun

Word Origin for facile

C15: from Latin facilis easy, from facere to do

facile princeps


an obvious leader

Word Origin for facile princeps

literally: easily first
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 facile

late 15c., from Middle French facile "easy," from Latin facilis "easy to do" and, of persons, "pliant, courteous," from facere "to do" (see factitious).

facile princeps

Latin, literally "easily first." An acknowledged leader or chief.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper