Definition of farce in English:



  • 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’
    • ‘It starts off as a slapstick farce, then tries to provide some commentary on the notion of marriage in this day and age before settling into portraying clichés.’
    • ‘His writings, which include more than thirty-five comedies, farces, adaptations, comic operas, and other light-hearted stage entertainments, were collected in 1798.’
    • ‘His own farces and burlesques have faded into obscurity, but this contributor to the ‘gaiety of nations' lies buried in Westminster abbey.’
    • ‘It adds to the farce when they cannot quite make their costume changes fast enough.’
    • ‘On stage he has played character roles in farces, pantomime, comedies and serious drama.’
    • ‘It is not a slapstick farce, it is a comedy of character and relies on the audience observing the detailed interplay between the singers.’
    • ‘In the course of the evening, you get a thriller, a comedy, a drama, and a farce, which, together, add up to a feast of first-class theatre.’
    • ‘Now, of course, this movie is an absurdist farce, the actor is a clown, and the scene is a joke.’
    • ‘Appearances belie reality and as the madness gains momentum, hilarity ensues in this classic comic farce of mistaken identities.’
    • ‘It is a comic farce set in a house of many perversions.’
    • ‘Social dramas, folk farces, and satires also premiered during the nineteenth century.’
    • ‘Sandwiched in between are three foot-stomping farces that make you wish you didn't consume any liquids before the show.’
    • ‘Because they traffic in exaggeration, all farces are a bit disorienting - not as forbidding as a foreign language, more like a different dialect.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the story keeps unraveling like a farce staged at Indianapolis' Hilbert Circle Theater.’
    • ‘Modern farces are few and far between, that alone makes this one welcome.’
    • ‘His early works included songs, piano sonatas, and choral pieces, but from 1826 to 1833 he wrote music for burlesques, farces, and melodramas.’
    • ‘The rest of her theatrical career was mainly spent as the lead in plays and farces, some of which were enormously successful.’
    • ‘The first production combines two one-act farces, which are to be performed at outdoor venues throughout the summer.’
    • ‘Even the natural born cynic will be won over by this board/bedroom farce.’
    • ‘For a farce to be effective, it has to caricature some known human foibles.’
    slapstick comedy, broad comedy, slapstick, burlesque, vaudeville, travesty, buffoonery
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    1. 1.1[mass noun] The dramatic genre represented by farces:
      ‘the choreographed confusion of real farce’
      • ‘For that matter, why does a would-be bedroom farce also try to utter philosophic profundities?’
      • ‘There are elements of farce in this drama which makes it all the sadder.’
      • ‘It allowed us to play on the elements of tragedy, drama, comedy, farce, and it allowed us to explore many, many levels.’
      • ‘George Bernard Shaw and William Shakespeare have used farce to highlight patient vulnerability to unscrupulous physicians.’
      • ‘But these films - through drama, thriller and farce - move the most demonised figure of our times to centre-screen.’
      • ‘The tone could change effortlessly and sensitively from farce to tragedy in the space of an episode.’
      • ‘Too much fun still derives from characters' gullibility or stupidity, but the young author is trying to lift himself from farce into comedy.’
      • ‘It toys with high-spirited farce but also vigorously satirises the way marriage is viewed entirely as monetary arrangement.’
      • ‘He talks mostly about his role in transforming the screenplay from drama to farce.’
      • ‘The series has always been a show about real life repeated as farce.’
      • ‘It has involved high drama, low comedy, farce, shameless over-acting and an out-of-control budget.’
      • ‘Sometimes the tone shifts too awkwardly from drama to farce - or there is not enough space between the subtle and the broad.’
      • ‘Only light comedy survived as a distinct genre akin to farce.’
      • ‘His farce is built on a familiar idea: that of the well-meaning guest who spreads disruptive chaos.’
      • ‘Whether melodrama, farce, or even tragedy, it holds the attention.’
      • ‘Had he written a book about relationships, it would be a total farce.’
      • ‘It defies any genre classification, because it can go from insanely heavy drama to light farce in a heartbeat.’
      • ‘About eight hundred regulars could be counted on to attend each production, be it drama or farce.’
      • ‘It is as much social satire as fairy story, as much comedy of manners as giddy farce.’
      • ‘His direction is tight, keeping a brisk pace and gaining the most out of broad farce and high drama.’
    2. 1.2 An event or situation that is absurd or disorganized:
      ‘the debate turned into a drunken farce’
      • ‘The whole episode has swung from farce to tragedy and back again.’
      • ‘The deregulation of the electricity market this weekend was " an absolute farce ", independent power providers claim.’
      • ‘The dear mayor and his cronies have not found the time or had any desire to end the farce.’
      • ‘By any objective standards, the case has been a farce from the start.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Let's hope the tough words from the White House mean that this tragic farce won't continue for much longer.’
      • ‘However, it is likely that, under these circumstances, the polling percentage will be very low and threaten to reduce the elections to a farce.’
      • ‘The doubts so unjustifiably afflicting such people turn the seminar from farce to tragedy.’
      • ‘It has made a mockery and a farce of the commencement date.’
      • ‘Last week the Chief Constable rightly pulled the plug on the political farce that the peace process has descended into.’
      • ‘We need to get more good referees like him, or the game is going to become a complete 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.’
      • ‘The whole thing has become a tragic farce.’
      • ‘Instinctively they turned their back on the farce staged by the trade unions.’
      • ‘Debates and votings in the assembly, in such cases, become no more than a farce, when every dissent can be purchased and silenced.’
      • ‘Bilingual education was a fraud and a farce from the outset.’
      • ‘The attempted reign of terror in the name of progressivism has turned into pure farce in some schools.’
      • ‘I took it as a cue to end the farce.’
      • ‘I told you this was going to be a total farce!’
      • ‘The detention and trial of the two workers has been a politically-motivated farce from start to finish.’
      absurdity, mockery, travesty, sham, pretence, masquerade, charade, piece of futility, joke, waste of time, laughing stock
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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.