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facetious

Printable Version
Pronunciation: fê-see-shês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Flippant, subtlely sarcastic, humorously ridiculing something, as 'a facetious remark'.

Notes: This word comes with an adverb, facetiously, one of two words in English containing all six vowels in alphabetical order. (The other is abstemiously.) It comes with a regular noun, facetiousness. Facetiosity was tried tongue-in-cheek in the 19th century. I kinda like it, since it's a facetious creation from a word meaning "facetious"—and it is listed in Merriam-Webster (with a citation from the 19th century).

In Play: This word comes with an adverb, facetiously, a word containing all six vowels in alphabetical order. It some with a regular noun, facetiousness. Facetiosity was tried tongue-in-cheek in the 19th century. I kinda like it, since it's a facetious creation from a word meaning "facetious"—and it is listed in Merriam-Webster (with a citation from the 19th century).

Word History: This Good Word was taken from 16th century French facétieux "mischievous", based on facÚtie "jest, joke, prank". French inherited its word from Latin facetia "jest, witticism", based on the adjective facetus "fine, courteous, elegant". We can see the descendants of Latin facetia in Portuguese facécia, Italian facezia and French facétie, but the provable trail ends here. It has been suggested that this word is based on fax [fac-s], facis "torch". This word was used in many Latin phrases meaning "making wrong-doing conspicuous". Fax, then, comes from PIE ghek-/ghok- "to shine", which turns up in Lithuanian as žvake "candle". German Fakel, Danish and Dutch fakkel "torch, flare" are all borrowings from Latin facula "small torch", the diminutive of fax. (Today we must thank Rob Towart—not facetiously—for suggesting today's quite interesting Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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