A question about “facile” - for native English speakers. I don’t know how often you personally encounter the word facile, but since the word can have both a positive and a negative meaning, I would like to know what you, when given no context, interpret the meaning to be in the following uses: 1. facile prose 2. a facile lecturer Thanks for your help!
Nov 27, 2017 10:12 AM
Answers · 11
How often do I encounter it? It's not an exaggeration to say never. This is the only time I remember hearing it. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xnleeu It's also used in Spanish (fácil) to mean 'easy.' One of those words that came from Latin but which we hardly ever use.
November 27, 2017
I've heard it occasionally, but I would not agree that it's positive. To me, it's almost always negative, and usually means overly simplistic, or inane, or glib as Beni said. It's probably also fair to say that it's mostly used as a show-off word - "look at me! look at my vocabulary!"
November 27, 2017
Hi Mikkel, As far as I’m concerned, « facile » has many meanings; depending on the context, it could mean “something easy to do”, “something that is done fast”, “something that is easily achieved”, “something that is enjoyable”, or “something/someone that is glib”. The last one is not really a compliment, as you may guess. :) What I’m trying to say is that it all depends on a particular context. In your examples, one may think in a rather “negative” way and think that the prose is a superficial one, lacking of thoroughness and that the lecturer is glib lecturer. As for me, I like to think positively, and I would say that the prose was easily achieved/written/produced and enjoyable to read/to listen to and that the lecturer is a fast and potentially enjoyable lecturer to listen to, as well. Why be mean after all? :) I hope that makes sense! :)
November 27, 2017
Interesting question....to which I don't know the answer! What I do know is that it's an extremely rare word, probably because we have the words "easy/simple/simplified... " to fall back on. A person would have to choose not use a list of 5 or 6 frequent words in order to use "facile" in a sentence. Facile is used in French (and Italian I think ) so I'm guessing it's one of those Latin words that are still in the English dictionary but very much fallen out of use.
November 27, 2017
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