Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Farce (said to be from Latin fordo, to stuff), a short comic dramatic sketch, full of broadly ludicrous incident but without any very elaborate plot. The Italian mimes [Comedy] are perhaps the earliest kind; but the farce proper first appears in medieeval French literature of the 14th and 15th centuries, probably as the direct successor of the fabliaux (q.v.). These farces are satires on various commonplace aspects of bourgeois life. Some were partly the basis of Moliere's comedies. During the last two centuries farce has been a feature of the English stage: but tends now to be superseded by musical sketches after the type of the French vaudeville.