Definition of farce in English:

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Pronunciation: /fɑːs/


1A comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including crude characterization and ludicrously improbable situations: he toured the backwoods in second-rate farces
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  • On stage he has played character roles in farces, pantomime, comedies and serious drama.
  • His writings, which include more than thirty-five comedies, farces, adaptations, comic operas, and other light-hearted stage entertainments, were collected in 1798.
  • His early works included songs, piano sonatas, and choral pieces, but from 1826 to 1833 he wrote music for burlesques, farces, and melodramas.
slapstick comedy, broad comedy, slapstick, burlesque, vaudeville, travesty, buffoonery;
skit, squib
rare pasquinade
1.1 [mass noun] The dramatic genre represented by farces: the choreographed confusion of real farce
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  • Only light comedy survived as a distinct genre akin to farce.
  • George Bernard Shaw and William Shakespeare have used farce to highlight patient vulnerability to unscrupulous physicians.
  • His direction is tight, keeping a brisk pace and gaining the most out of broad farce and high drama.
1.2An event or situation that is absurd or disorganized: the debate turned into a drunken farce
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  • Players who made their sixes and sevens before the watering were not allowed to go back to try again, rendering the whole event a farce.
  • Because the Government has chosen to reduce the election to a farce, and the Opposition has decided to raise barely a squeak, I have decided not to waste my vote in a pointless exercise.
  • Last week the Chief Constable rightly pulled the plug on the political farce that the peace process has descended into.
absurdity, mockery, travesty, sham, pretence, masquerade, charade, piece of futility, joke, waste of time, laughing stock;
apology, excuse, poor substitute
informal shambles


Early 16th century: from French, literally 'stuffing', from farcir 'to stuff', from Latin farcire. An earlier sense of 'forcemeat stuffing' became used metaphorically for comic interludes ‘stuffed’ into the texts of religious plays, which led to the current usage.

  • In 1796 the cookery writer Hannah Glasse wrote, ‘Make a farce with the livers minced small.’ Farce was an adoption of a French word meaning ‘stuffing’, its first sense in English. It took on its modern English meaning when applied to comic interludes which were ‘stuffed’ into the texts of religious plays. From this the term was used for a complete comic play, these days one that involves a lot of slapstick. See also interlude

Words that rhyme with farce

brass, carse, class, coup de grâce, glass, grass, Grasse, impasse, Kars, kick-ass, kvass, Laplace, Maas, Madras, outclass, pass, sparse, stained glass, surpass, upper class, volte-face

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Line breaks: farce

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