In modern common usage, sarcastic.

Even if we are only dealing with words (unlike, e.g., `sacrilegious') which contain each vowel only once, and in alphabetical order, `facetious' is not the only such word. Ignoring the obvious `facetiously', which has the six English vowels in alphabetical order1, there is `abstemious' (and `abstemiously')--which, interestingly, is a near-opposite of `facetious' in meaning.

  1. Some people might consider syllabic n, m, and l to be vowels. Others might consider the `w' in `row' to be a vowel, but it is more of a glide or semivowel. Depending on what dialect you speak, final `r' might be a vowel, might be a semivowel, might be a trill or flap, or might be silent. Additionally, in some languages using the Latin alphabet, `w' or `r' are vowels (`w' in Welsh, `r' in, for example, Serbian), and there are many vowels with diacriticals.

(From the French facétieux and facétie, from the Latin facetia, "a jest", from the Latin facetus, "elegant, witty") Joking or trying to be jocular, especially at an inappropriate time. Known historic usages of this meaning include in Ben Johnson's The fountaine of selfe-love, or Cynthias revels in 1599 ("My sweet facetious rascall"), in William Camden's Remaines of a greater worke concerning Britaine in 1605 ("It was then thought facetious"), in Isaac Barrow's Sermons circa 1677 ("Facetious speech there serves onely to obstruct and entangle business"), and in William Sewel's The history of the rise, increase, and progress of the Christian people called Quakers in 1722 ("Intermixed the serious part sometimes with a facetious accident").

Fa*ce"tious (?), a. [Cf. F. fac'etieux. See Facetiae.]

1.

Given to wit and good humor; merry; sportive; jocular; as, a facetious companion.

2.

Characterized by wit and pleasantry; exciting laughter; as, a facetious story or reply.

-- Fa*ce"tious*ly, adv. -- Fa*ce"tious*ness, n.

 

© Webster 1913.

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