1. having a specified kind of face or number of faces (usually used in combination): a sweet-faced child; the two-faced god.


  1. the front part of the head, from the forehead to the chin.
  2. a look or expression on this part: a sad face.
  3. an expression or look that indicates ridicule, disgust, etc.; grimace: The child put on a face when told to go to bed.
  4. cosmetics; makeup: Excuse me while I go to the powder room to put on my face.
  5. impudence; boldness: to have the face to ask such a rude question.
  6. outward appearance: These are just old problems with new faces. The future presented a fair face to the fortunate youth.
  7. outward show or pretense, especially as a means of preserving one’s dignity or of concealing a detrimental fact, condition, etc.: Though shamed beyond words, he managed to show a bold face.
  8. good reputation; dignity; prestige: They hushed up the family scandal to preserve face.
  9. the amount specified in a bill or note, exclusive of interest.
  10. the manifest sense or express terms, as of a document.
  11. the geographic characteristics or general appearance of a land surface.
  12. the surface: the face of the earth.
  13. the side, or part of a side, upon which the use of a thing depends: the clock’s face; the face of a playing card.
  14. the most important or most frequently seen side; front: the face of a building.
  15. the outer or upper side of a fabric; right side.
  16. the acting, striking, or working surface of an implement, tool, etc.
  17. Geometry. any of the bounding surfaces of a solid figure: a cube has six faces.
  18. Also called working face. Mining. the front or end of a drift or excavation, where the material is being or was last mined.
  19. Printing.
    1. the working surface of a type, of a plate, etc.
    2. Also called typeface, typestyle.any design of type, including a full range of characters, as letters, numbers, and marks of punctuation, in all sizes: Caslon is one of the most popular faces.
    3. Also called typeface, typestyle,.the general style or appearance of type: broad or narrow face.
  20. Nautical, Aeronautics. the rear or after side of a propeller blade (opposed to back1def 11).
  21. Fortification. either of the two outer sides that form the salient angle of a bastion or the like.
  22. Crystallography. any of the plane surfaces of a crystal.
  23. Electronics. faceplate(def 3).
  24. Archaic. sight; presence: to flee from the face of the enemy.

verb (used with object), faced, fac·ing.

  1. to look toward or in the direction of: to face the light.
  2. to have the front toward or permit a view of: The building faces Fifth Avenue. The bedroom faces the park.
  3. to confront directly: to be faced with a problem; to face the future confidently.
  4. to confront courageously, boldly, or impudently (usually followed by down or out): He could always face down his detractors.
  5. to oppose or to meet defiantly: to face fearful odds; Army faces Navy in today’s football game.
  6. to cover or partly cover with a different material in front: They faced the old wooden house with brick.
  7. to finish the edge of a garment with facing, a piece of fabric added for ornament or strengthening.
  8. to turn the face of (a playing card) upwards.
  9. to dress or smooth the surface of (a stone or the like).
  10. to cause (soldiers) to turn to the right, left, or in the opposite direction.
  11. Ice Hockey. (of a referee) to put (the puck) in play by dropping it between two opposing players each having his or her stick on the ice and facing the goal of the opponent.

verb (used without object), faced, fac·ing.

  1. to turn or be turned (often followed by to or toward): She faced toward the sea.
  2. to be placed with the front in a certain direction (often followed by on, to, or toward): The house faces on the street. The barn faces south.
  3. to turn to the right, left, or in the opposite direction: Left face!
  4. Ice Hockey. to face the puck; put the puck in play (often followed by off).

Verb Phrases

  1. face down, to confront boldly or intimidate (an opponent, critic, etc.).
  2. face off,
    1. to confront, fight, or compete against each other as opponents: The presidential nominees will face off at the debates tomorrow night.
    2. Ice Hockey.to start a game or period with a face-off.
  3. face up to,
    1. to acknowledge; admit: to face up to the facts.
    2. to meet courageously; confront: He refused to face up to his problems.

  1. face the music. music(def 9).
  2. face to face,
    1. facing or opposite one another: We sat face to face at the table.
    2. in an open, personal meeting or confrontation: The leaders spoke face to face about a reduction in nuclear arms.
  3. face to face with, in close proximity to; narrowly escaping; confronting: face to face with death.
  4. fly in the face of. fly1(def 35).
  5. get out of someone’s face (usually used imperatively)
    1. Southern U.S.go away!; leave.
    2. Slang.to stop bothering or annoying someone.
  6. in someone’s face,
    1. in a confrontational way that shows annoyance or contempt: When I asked for money, he just laughed in my face.
    2. Slang.confrontational toward someone, as by criticizing or annoying persistently: My dad got in my face about my bad grades.
  7. in your face, Slang.
    1. (usually used imperatively to tease someone or flaunt something in a confrontational way): We won the game. In your face!
    2. involving confrontation; defiant; provocative: His political commentary is always in your face.See also in-your-face.
  8. in the face of,
    1. in spite of; notwithstanding: She persevered in the face of many obstacles.
    2. when confronted with: They were steadfast in the face of disaster.
  9. lose face, to suffer disgrace, humiliation, or embarrassment: It was impossible to apologize publicly without losing face.
  10. make a face, to grimace, as in distaste or contempt; contort one’s face in order to convey a feeling or to amuse another: She made a face when she was told the work wasn’t finished. The children made me laugh by making faces.
  11. on the face of it, to outward appearances; superficially; seemingly: On the face of it, there was no hope for a comeback.
  12. put on a bold face, to give the appearance of confidence or assurance: Everyone knew that he had been fired, even though he put on a bold face.Also put a bold face on.
  13. save face, to avoid disgrace, humiliation, or embarrassment: She tried to save face by saying that the bill had never arrived.
  14. set one’s face against, to disapprove strongly of; oppose: My parents have set their face against my becoming an actress.
  15. show one’s face, to make an appearance; be seen: I would be ashamed to show my face in such an outlandish outfit. Just show your face at the party and then you can leave.
  16. to one’s face, in one’s presence; brazenly; directly: Tell him to his face that he’s a liar!

abbreviation for

  1. Fellow of the Australian College of Education


    1. the front of the head from the forehead to the lower jaw; visage
    2. (as modifier)face flannel; face cream
    1. the expression of the countenance; looka sad face
    2. a distorted expression, esp to indicate disgust; grimaceshe made a face
  1. informal make-up (esp in the phrase put one’s face on)
  2. outward appearancethe face of the countryside is changing
  3. appearance or pretence (esp in the phrases put a bold, good, bad, etc, face on)
  4. worth in the eyes of others; dignity (esp in the phrases lose or save face)
  5. informal impudence or effrontery
  6. the main side of an object, building, etc, or the frontthe face of a palace; a cliff face
  7. the marked surface of an instrument, esp the dial of a timepiece
  8. the functional or working side of an object, as of a tool or playing card
    1. the exposed area of a mine from which coal, ore, etc, may be mined
    2. (as modifier)face worker
  9. the uppermost part or surfacethe face of the earth
  10. Also called: side any one of the plane surfaces of a crystal or other solid figure
  11. mountaineering a steep side of a mountain, bounded by ridges
  12. either of the surfaces of a coin, esp the one that bears the head of a ruler
  13. British slang a well-known or important person
  14. Also called: typeface printing
    1. the printing surface of any type character
    2. the style, the design, or sometimes the size of any type fount
    3. the print made from type
  15. nautical aeronautics the aft or near side of a propeller blade
  16. fly in the face of to act in defiance of
  17. in one’s face directly opposite or against one
  18. in face of or in the face of despite
  19. look someone in the face to look directly at a person without fear or shame
  20. on the face of it to all appearances
  21. set one’s face against to oppose with determination
  22. show one’s face to make an appearance
  23. shut one’s face slang (often imperative) to be silent
  24. to someone’s face in someone’s presence; directly and openlyI told him the truth to his face
  25. until one is blue in the face informal to the utmost degree; indefinitely


  1. (when intr, often foll by to, towards, or on) to look or be situated or placed (in a specified direction)the house faces on the square
  2. to be oppositefacing page 9
  3. (tr) to meet or be confronted byin his work he faces many problems
  4. (tr) to accept or deal with somethinglet’s face it, you’re finished
  5. (tr) to provide with a surface of a different materialthe cuffs were faced with velvet
  6. to dress the surface of (stone or other material)
  7. (tr) to expose (a card) with the face uppermost
  8. military, mainly US to order (a formation) to turn in a certain direction or (of a formation) to turn as requiredright face!
  9. ice hockey
    1. (of the referee) to drop (the puck) between two opposing players, as when starting or restarting playSee also face-off
    2. to start or restart play in this manner
  10. face the music informal to confront the consequences of one’s actions

late 13c., “front of the head,” from Old French face (12c.) “face, countenance, look, appearance,” from Vulgar Latin *facia (cf. Italian faccia), from Latin facies “appearance, form, figure,” and secondarily “visage, countenance;” probably related to facere “to make” (see factitious).

Replaced Old English andwlita (from root of wlitan “to see, look”) and ansyn, the usual word (from the root of seon “see”). In French, the use of face for “front of the head” was given up 17c. and replaced by visage (older vis), from Latin visus “sight.” To lose face (or save face), 1876, is said to be from Chinese tu lien. Face value was originally (1878) of bank notes, postage stamps, etc.


“confront with assurance, show a bold face,” mid-15c., from face (n.) Related: Faced. To face the music is theatrical.


  1. The front portion of the head, from forehead to chin.
  2. Facies.

  1. A plane surface of a geometric solid. A cube has 6 faces; a dodecahedron, 12.
  2. Any of the surfaces of a rock or crystal.

In addition to the idioms beginning with face

  • face down
  • face it
  • face the music
  • face to face
  • face up
  • face up to
  • face value
  • face with

also see:

  • at face value
  • blue in the face
  • brave face
  • do an about-face
  • egg on one’s face
  • feed one’s face
  • fly in the face of
  • hide one’s face
  • in someone’s face
  • in the face of
  • in your face
  • keep a straight face
  • laugh out of the other side of one’s mouth (face)
  • long face
  • look someone in the face
  • lose face
  • make a face
  • on the face of it
  • plain as day (the nose on your face)
  • poker face
  • put one’s face on
  • red in the face
  • save face
  • set one’s face against
  • show one’s face
  • slap in the face
  • stare in the face
  • stuff one’s face
  • talk one’s arm off (until blue in the face)
  • throw in someone’s face
  • to someone’s face
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