from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Done or achieved with little effort or difficulty; easy. See Synonyms at easy.
  • adj. Working, acting, or speaking with effortless ease and fluency.
  • adj. Arrived at without due care, effort, or examination; superficial: proposed a facile solution to a complex problem.
  • adj. Readily manifested, together with an aura of insincerity and lack of depth: a facile slogan devised by politicians.
  • adj. Archaic Pleasingly mild, as in disposition or manner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of a reaction or other process, taking place readily.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Easy to be done or performed: not difficult; performable or attainable with little labor.
  • adj. Easy to be surmounted or removed; easily conquerable; readily mastered.
  • adj. Easy of access or converse; mild; courteous; not haughty, austere, or distant; affable; complaisant.
  • adj. Easily persuaded to good or bad; yielding; ductile to a fault; pliant; flexible.
  • adj. Ready; quick; expert

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Easy to be done, performed, or used; easy; not difficult.
  • Easy to be moved, removed, surmounted, or overcome.
  • Easy of access or converse; affable; not haughty, austere, or reserved.
  • Easily moved or persuaded to good or bad; pliable; flexible; yielding.
  • Ready; quick; dexterous: as, a facile artisan or artist; he wields a facile pen.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. arrived at without due care or effort; lacking depth
  • adj. performing adroitly and without effort
  • adj. expressing yourself readily, clearly, effectively


Middle English, from Old French, from Latin facilis; see dhē- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French facile, from Latin facilis ("easy to do, easy, literally doable"), from facere ("to do, make"). (Wiktionary)


  • Leisure time is being stolen from us, language is degraded and commercialized in facile ways, and anything made for “serious human ends” is rendered irrelevant.

    Poets Forum (Part 1) : Ange Mlinko : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

  • Even as they immerse themselves in facile debates about the Boy King's "A-list", it could have a material effect on their electoral prospects.

    Talking about them… talking about themselves

  • Brissot became known as a facile and able writer, and was engaged on the

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 3 "Brescia" to "Bulgaria"

  • The learned and ingenious John Schweighaeuser (a name facile to spell and mellifluous to pronounce) hath been pleased, in that Appendix continens particulam doctrinae de mente humana, which closeth the volume of his "Opuscula Academica," to observe (we translate from memory) that,

    Paul Clifford — Complete

  • The learned and ingenious John Schweighaeuser (a name facile to spell and mellifluous to pronounce) hath been pleased, in that _Appendix continens particulam doctrinae de mente humana_, which closeth the volume of his

    Paul Clifford — Volume 02

  • I’m torn between not wanting to speak ill of a fellow Guinness drinker and pointing out how utterly facile is your view of the connection between lobbyists and government.

    Newt Gingrich Answers Your Questions - Freakonomics Blog -

  • Il se fait que le mot “écu” désignait les pièces d'or ou d'argent qui commencèrent à être utilisées sous le règne de Louis IX, en 1266, de sorte qu'il s'agissait d'une appellation facile à retenir pour les Français, lorsque ceux-ci apprirent qu'ils devraient renoncer à leur cher franc français.

    Archive 2010-06-01

  • So that class of women known as facile is unknown to me, or if I allow myself to be taken with them, it is without knowing it, and through innate simplicity.

    The French Immortals Series — Complete

  • He has what is called a facile pen, though it sometimes runs away with him.

    "Marse Henry" : an autobiography,

  • Arrived in Cincinnati, where he got employment in the Western Union commercial telegraph department at a wage of $60 per month, Edison made the acquaintance of Milton F. Adams, already referred to as facile princeps the typical telegrapher in all his more sociable and brilliant aspects.

    Edison, His Life and Inventions, vol. 1


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I just found this word, twice underlined, on something that looks like an old physics homework with excursions into seemingly inscrutable calculations. Mysterious.

    October 25, 2009