in front of


  1. the foremost part or surface of anything.
  2. the part or side of anything that faces forward: the front of a jacket.
  3. the part or side of anything, as a building, that seems to look out or to be directed forward: He sat in the front of the restaurant.
  4. any side or face, as of a building.
  5. a façade, considered with respect to its architectural treatment or material: a cast-iron front.
  6. a property line along a street or the like: a fifty-foot front.
  7. a place or position directly before anything: We decided to plant trees in the front.
  8. a position of leadership in a particular endeavor or field: She rose to the front of her profession.
  9. Military.
    1. the foremost line or part of an army.
    2. a line of battle.
    3. the place where combat operations are carried on.
  10. an area of activity, conflict, or competition: news from the business front.
  11. land facing a road, river, etc.
  12. British. a promenade along a seashore.
  13. Informal. a distinguished person listed as an official of an organization, for the sake of prestige, and who is usually inactive.
  14. a person or thing that serves as a cover or disguise for some other activity, especially one of a secret, disreputable, or illegal nature; a blind: The store was a front for foreign agents.
  15. outward impression of rank, position, or wealth.
  16. bearing or demeanor in confronting anything: a calm front.
  17. haughtiness; self-importance: That clerk has the most outrageous front.
  18. the forehead, or the entire face: the statue’s gracefully chiseled front.
  19. a coalition or movement to achieve a particular end, usually political: the people’s front.
  20. something attached or worn at the breast, as a shirt front or a dickey: to spill gravy down one’s front.
  21. Meteorology. an interface or zone of transition between two dissimilar air masses.
  22. Theater.
    1. the auditorium.
    2. the business offices of a theater.
    3. the front of the stage; downstage.


  1. of or relating to the front.
  2. situated in or at the front: front seats.
  3. Phonetics. (of a speech sound) articulated with the tongue blade relatively far forward in the mouth, as the sounds of lay.

verb (used with object)

  1. to have the front toward; face: Our house fronts the lake.
  2. to meet face to face; confront.
  3. to face in opposition, hostility, or defiance.
  4. to furnish or supply a front to: to front a building with sandstone.
  5. to serve as a front to: A long, sloping lawn fronted their house.
  6. Informal. to provide an introduction to; introduce: a recorded message that is fronted with a singing commercial.
  7. to lead (a jazz or dance band).
  8. Phonetics. to articulate (a speech sound) at a position farther front in the mouth.
  9. Linguistics. to move (a constituent) to the beginning of a clause or sentence.

verb (used without object)

  1. to have or turn the front in some specified direction: Our house fronts on the lake.
  2. to serve as a cover or disguise for another activity, especially something of a disreputable or illegal nature: The shop fronts for a narcotics ring.


  1. (used to call or command someone to come, look, etc., to the front, as in an order to troops on parade or in calling a hotel bellboy to the front desk): Front and center, on the double!

  1. in front, in a forward place or position: Sit down, you in front!
  2. in front of,
    1. ahead of: to walk in front of a moving crowd.
    2. outside the entrance of: to wait in front of a house.
    3. in the presence of: to behave badly in front of company.
  3. out front,
    1. outside the entrance: He’s waiting out front.
    2. ahead of competitors: This advertising campaign ought to put our business way out front.
    3. the audience or auditorium.
    4. Informal.candidly; frankly: Say what you mean out front.
  4. up front, Informal.
    1. in advance; before anything else: You’ll have to make a payment of $5,000 up front.
    2. frank; open; direct: I want you to be up front with me.


  1. that part or side that is forward, prominent, or most often seen or used
  2. a position or place directly before or aheada fountain stood at the front of the building
  3. the beginning, opening, or first partthe front of the book
  4. the position of leadership; forefront; vanguardin the front of scientific knowledge
  5. land bordering a lake, street, etc
  6. land along a seashore or large lake, esp a promenade
  7. military
    1. the total area in which opposing armies face each other
    2. the lateral space in which a military unit or formation is operatingto advance on a broad front
    3. the direction in which troops are facing when in a formed line
  8. meteorol the dividing line or plane between two air masses or water masses of different origins and having different characteristicsSee also warm front, cold front
  9. outward aspect or bearing, as when dealing with a situationa bold front
  10. assurance, overconfidence, or effrontery
  11. informal a business or other activity serving as a respectable cover for another, usually criminal, organization
  12. mainly US a nominal leader of an organization, etc, who lacks real power or authority; figurehead
  13. informal outward appearance of rank or wealth
  14. a particular field of activity involving some kind of struggleon the wages front
  15. a group of people with a common goala national liberation front
  16. a false shirt front; a dicky
  17. archaic the forehead or the face

adjective (prenominal)

  1. of, at, or in the fronta front seat
  2. phonetics of, relating to, or denoting a vowel articulated with the blade of the tongue brought forward and raised towards the hard palate, as for the sound of ee in English see or a in English hat
  3. on the front foot at an advantage, outclassing and outmanoeuvring one’s opponents


  1. (when intr, foll by on or onto) to be opposite (to); face (onto)this house fronts the river
  2. (tr) to be a front of or for
  3. (tr) informal to appear as a presenter in (a television show)
  4. (tr) to be the lead singer or player in (a band)
  5. (tr) to confront, esp in hostility or opposition
  6. (tr) to supply a front for
  7. (intr often foll by up) Australian and NZ informal to appear (at)to front up at the police station

late 13c., “forehead,” from Old French front “forehead, brow” (12c.), from Latin frontem (nominative frons) “forehead, brow, front; facade, forepart; appearance,” perhaps literally “that which projects,” from PIE *bhront-, from root *bhren- “to project, stand out.” Or from PIE *ser-, “base of prepositions and preverbs with the basic meaning ‘above, over, up, upper'” [Watkins].

Sense of “foremost part of anything” developed in Latin. The military sense of “foremost part of an army” (mid-14c.) led to the meaning “field of operations in contact with the enemy” (1660s). Home front is from 1919. Sense of “public facade” is from 1891; that of “something serving as a cover for illegal activities” is from 1905. Meteorological sense first recorded 1921. Front yard first attested 1767.


1520s, from Middle French fronter, from Old French front (see front (n.)). Related: Fronted; fronting.

  1. The boundary between two air masses that have different temperatures or humidity. In the mid-latitude areas of the Earth, where warm tropical air meets cooler polar air, the systems of fronts define the weather and often cause precipitation to form. Warm air, being lighter than cold air, tends to rise, cool, and condense along such boundaries, forming rain or snow. See also cold front occluded front polar front stationary front warm front.

In meteorology, the line that forms the boundary between two air masses. Unless they are very similar in temperature and humidity, they will not mix.


Facing someone or a group, as in He was shy about speaking in front of a large audience. [Early 1600s]


In someone’s presence, as in Let’s not fight in front of the children. [Mid-1800s]

In addition to the idioms beginning with front

  • front and center
  • front burner, on a
  • front office

also see:

  • brave face (front)
  • in front of
  • out front
  • up front

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