• farce •
Part of Speech: fahrs
Meaning: 1. Stuffing, filling, force-meat. 2. An exaggerated parody of base humor, an artistic work with no redeeming social value that usually resorts to slapstick humor.
Notes: Today's noun may be used as a verb in its first sense, as to farce a turkey before baking it. In the second sense there is an adjective farcical, an adverb farcically, and a noun farcicality, that expresses the quality of a literary farce.
In Play: Today's word has two meanings that love to play together: "The turkey was a hit at dinner but the Brussels sprouts stuffed with grape jelly were a farced culinary farce!" Some might think farcical the new culinary craze in the US, a turducken, a turkey farced with a duck farced with a chicken. Others just love it.
Word History: Today's word was inherited from Middle English farse "stuffing," borrowed from Old French farce "stuffing, interlude". The French inherited this word from Latin farcire "to stuff, cram, fill up." How did "stuffing" get to "crude comedy?" In medieval France and England, actors in the religious dramas were wont to add impromptu lines called farcias to pad out the plays they performed. With time this dramatic "stuffing" became more and more humorous and, the more humorous, the more popular. Finally, as drama secularized, the farces took on a life of their own. (Let us hope that our old friend Mary Beltran keeps stuffing our mailbox with spicy lexical delicacies like today's word.)
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