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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.


transitive verb
  • 1: (to) stuff
  • 2: to improve or expand (something, such as a literary work) as if by stuffing
  • 1: a savory stuffing : forcemeat
  • 2: a light dramatic composition marked by broadly satirical comedy and improbable plot
  • 3: the broad humor characteristic of farce
  • 4: an empty or patently ridiculous act, proceeding, or situation


In theatre, a farce is a comedy that aims at entertaining the audience through situations that are highly exaggerated, extravagant, and thus improbable. Farce is also characterized by physical humor, the use of deliberate absurdity or nonsense, and broadly stylized performances. Farces have been written for the stage and film. Furthermore, a farce is also often set in one particular location, where all events occur.