Definition of farce in US English:



  • 1A comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including crude characterization and ludicrously improbable situations.

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