The word farce was first attested in the English language in a 1390 cookbook, where it was spelled fars and meant "stuffing". Then, by the early sixteenth century, it became a thing in French theatre to insert comic interludes in dramatic plays. This was thought to be a sort of cinematic "stuffing", and eventually those comic interludes took on a life of their own and the word came to refer to any comedic work with crude exaggerations. The word traces to the Old French verb farcir, which meant "to stuff" and was borrowed in the thirteenth century from Latin farcire, also meaning "stuff" or "cram". That, through Proto-Italic farkjo, is eventually derived from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction brek, meaning "cram together" (also thought by some etymologists to be the source of the word frequent, with the connection being the idea of short intervals being crammed together).
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.