Definition of face in English:



  • 1The front part of a person's head from the forehead to the chin, or the corresponding part in an animal.

    ‘she was scarlet in the face and perspiring profusely’
    • ‘Probably weighing around 20 stone, a bald man with a moon face stood there, looking sad and bemused.’
    • ‘I brushed her long dark hair from her face and caressed her cheek in an effort to calm her.’
    • ‘A man and a woman laugh, watching each other's faces over a candlelit dinner.’
    • ‘I watched their faces and wished, desperately and irrationally, that these boys would understand.’
    • ‘The face is characteristically square or broad with a short neck, often giving a squat appearance.’
    • ‘The old man's wrinkled face creased into a warm smile.’
    • ‘It would be interesting to know is whether people with symmetrical faces have longer life expectancies.’
    • ‘My voice broke and the tears fell down my face as I wrapped my arms around his solid torso.’
    • ‘She felt immediate relief as she found herself looking at a familiar long, freckled face with sandy bangs.’
    • ‘Their weathered faces, full of character, look down upon Lee as he fixes a bridle.’
    • ‘Paint peeled off the walls of nearby buildings and the faces of wax dummies in the dress shop across the road melted in the intense heat’
    • ‘She had curly cherry red hair that framed her porcelain doll face.’
    • ‘His eyes were a solid dark blue, and his face showed the beginning signs of middle age.’
    • ‘Standing in his way was a tall man with long dark hair, his face hidden in the shadows of the hood of his black robes.’
    • ‘A large body of research has found that we perceive faces that are closer to the average as more beautiful than distinctive faces.’
    • ‘We both stood there for a while, our faces illuminated by the moon's pale light, silent.’
    • ‘The woman's fair face was ashen; beads of sweat formed at her temples.’
    • ‘Emily buried her face into her pillow and started to drift off to sleep.’
    • ‘They were walking determinedly, but in the darkness, she could not distinguish their faces.’
    • ‘In his dream he looked upon the moon and saw the face of the goddess looking down upon her people.’
    countenance, physiognomy, profile, features
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    1. 1.1 An expression shown on the face.
      ‘the happy faces of these children’
      • ‘She had a pouty face, the kind you knew was going to be a very attractive face when she got older.’
      • ‘The woman's face darkened and she stopped.’
      • ‘The last thing I saw through the closing crack was dozens of pale, terrified faces watching us in confusion.’
      • ‘Then, in a second, the old woman's face had softened back into its regular form.’
      • ‘We dug in a pile of loose rubble adjacent to the pit, finding a few crystals of smoky quartz, as Agenor and Lauro looked on with unhappy faces.’
      • ‘I looked around the room, watching the girls' faces change from looks of accusation to pity and understanding.’
      • ‘James, one of the now gloomy faces at the dining room table, had brought me a sketch of St. Vincent de Paul.’
      • ‘Her smile faded slowly as she saw her father's face turn serious.’
      • ‘On Sunday, I visited the Art Gallery of Ontario and met a familiar but nervous face.’
      • ‘Does he regularly practice his poker face in front of the mirror?’
      • ‘Blaze is leaning back in her chair without blinking, with tears running down her blank, expressionless face.’
      • ‘She quickly regained her posture and followed him down the hall getting confused faces along the way as if asking her, what did you do?’
      • ‘Turning her straight face into a frown, she turned herself away from him.’
      • ‘He read the letter, then with a face of anger, crumpled it up and threw it on the ground.’
      • ‘I watched some pretty serious faces as shooters battled it out for 15th or 20th place in a category.’
      • ‘And if you're thinking the way the character thinks, your face and body will change.’
      • ‘I joked, watching as their faces twist with frustration, annoyed that I was avoiding the subject.’
      • ‘The big group fell silent and watched with eerily solemn faces as the two girls approached.’
      • ‘She looked at everyone and saw concerned faces watching her intently.’
      • ‘He has a face so unusually characterful that it almost defies caricature.’
      expression, facial expression, look, appearance, air, manner, bearing, countenance, guise, cast, aspect, impression
      grimace, scowl, wry face, wince, frown, glower, smirk, pout, moue
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    2. 1.2 An aspect of something.
      ‘the unacceptable face of social drinking’
      • ‘Although alcoholism remains the number one dependency problem among judges and lawyers, the face of addiction continues to change.’
      • ‘Here was a problem that amounted to rather more than an unsightly flaw on the face of the splendid facade of classical physics.’
      • ‘Critical thinking requires you to put a face to the problem and to identify all the faces of the problem involved.’
      • ‘These mountain are most assuredly another of the distinctive four faces of Algeria.’
      appearance, outward appearance, aspect, air, nature, image
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  • 2The surface of a thing, especially one that is presented to the view or has a particular function.

    covering, layer, surface, veneer, lamination, encrustation, carpet, blanket, sheet, curtain, canopy, cover, cloak, veil, pall, shroud, screen, mask, cloud, envelope
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    1. 2.1Geometry Each of the surfaces of a solid.
      ‘the faces of a cube’
      • ‘To solve the problem, Vinson opted to use polyhedra that have more vertices than faces.’
      • ‘The faces of the polyhedron appear to consist of two equilateral triangles and six somewhat irregular pentagons.’
      • ‘Faces in graph theory are a lot like the six faces of a cube.’
      • ‘A triangular pyramid, or tetrahedron, has a triangular base and four faces, counting the bottom.’
      • ‘This time, it had the shape of a trapezoid on four faces, making it look like a thimble with four right angles.’
      side, aspect, flank, vertical, surface, plane, facet, wall, elevation
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    2. 2.2 A vertical or sloping side of a mountain or cliff.
      ‘the north face of the Eiger’
      • ‘For example, plains give way to rising mountain passes with steep cliff faces, and islands peek mysteriously out of lakes and seas.’
      • ‘The lift is strong and we are either climbing up the south faces of the ridges, or flying down the tops of the mountains moving much faster than yesterday.’
      • ‘Springs can occur in uplands if zones of perched water extend laterally to cliff faces or other steep slopes.’
      • ‘Here the road has been hewn out of solid rock, so the cliff face overhangs the narrow roadway.’
      • ‘This source of ore is quite iron poor, unlike the ores that were later to be quarried out from cliff faces.’
      • ‘The steep north faces of the escarpments escaped cultivation and the worst effects of logging.’
      • ‘They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up.’
      • ‘These have produced scarps with vertical cliff faces up to 800 meters high.’
      • ‘This is why we have to be very careful close to either the flat ground or a cliff or mountain face.’
      • ‘It didn't take him much longer to reach a point where he could climb down the cliff face.’
      • ‘The researchers counted snail shells in soil samples from nooks of climbed and unclimbed faces of the limestone cliffs.’
      • ‘A thin trickle of water drips down the dank side of a cliff face to splash into the stream below.’
      • ‘Twenty years ago its soaring cliff faces and base was free of human habitation, and the tower stood tall.’
      • ‘Diving through one of the many submarine tunnels and along the cliff faces is truly exhilarating.’
      • ‘Such people were the first to leave the cave and see what was on the other side of the cliff face.’
      • ‘Ocean waves pummel the rocky cliff faces, eventually turning some of the rocks into sand.’
      • ‘Matt grabs the rock face with his bare hands and starts climbing grimly.’
      • ‘Contrary to popular belief, the bird's nests are not found in the faces of cliffs but in caves.’
      • ‘The mountains are massive red sandstone lumps, their vertical faces rising to table-tops or dropping sheer into canyons.’
      • ‘But he felt a renewed sense of betrayal when Bonington climbed the north face of the Eiger without him.’
    3. 2.3 The side of a planet or moon facing the observer.
      ‘we can often see the dark face of the moon by earthshine’
      • ‘Then the heavens ripped asunder and showered evil and ill omens upon the face of this beckoning planet.’
      • ‘As one resident put it to this writer last week, the surface of the stretch of road in question is like the face of the moon.’
      • ‘The face of the planet swung beneath them, and then they were coming down again, down and down.’
      • ‘Beyond, the grey light was coming and going as clouds chased each other across the face of the moon.’
    4. 2.4 The front of a building.
      ‘a series of loggias make up the face of the church’
      • ‘The glazed faces of the building terminate campus circulation routes.’
      • ‘In older units, the dividing line was very often the exterior face of a wall.’
      • ‘The cobblestones press back against my feet, the lit faces of the buildings rise around me into a clear, black sky.’
      • ‘The four distinct faces of the building force a process of scanning and mental reassembly at the scale of the whole wall.’
      • ‘On the faces of the building, it is difficult to tell where the floors are.’
      • ‘The general orientation of the buildings is east-west, with most window openings in the north and south faces.’
      • ‘Fireworks screamed up into the sky, exploding all around us and strobing the face of every building.’
      • ‘The red line down the face of the building marks the precise longitude at which time begins.’
      • ‘The top floor will be set back from the main face of the building.’
      • ‘In this building, there was but one vertical movement joint on the south face.’
      • ‘The windows on these faces look into narrow protected alleys or the small courtyard between the houses.’
      • ‘The three outer faces are very similar with a tall arch over the steps.’
    5. 2.5 The plate of a clock or watch bearing the digits or hands.
      ‘a dial like the face of a clock’
      • ‘They are also very well known for their simple, clean watch faces and designs.’
      • ‘The turret wall, a fort-like structure enclosing a 25-foot tower leads up to an analog clock with two faces.’
      • ‘Here, traditional analogue clocks with crisp modern faces sit within achingly fashionable hoods.’
      • ‘When Mrs C draws a clock face, or copies a picture of a flower, she omits much or all of the left side.’
      • ‘And I love how one of the clock faces of the Fendi Secret Dual Time watch is always very subtly covered.’
      • ‘I couldn't see the clock in the bathroom because of the condensation on the clock face.’
      • ‘Moiré and mother of pearl pastel watch faces in colours like pink and aqua and agate will also capture an iridescent feel.’
      • ‘Watch faces, found at flea markets and removed from their bands, are arranged precisely on a tray.’
      • ‘Maybe an African watch should do away with confusing numerals and simply have just a sun and a moon on its face.’
      • ‘We built a clock tower in Bowen with four clock faces in the center of the town as a memorial of the Bowen Variety Show.’
      • ‘A typical map divides the eye into sections, using the image of a clock face as a base.’
      • ‘On top of each table were a wooden chess set, and a little clock with two faces next to each one.’
      dial, display
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    6. 2.6 The distinctive side of a playing card.
      ‘she scattered a deck of cards face down’
      • ‘It wasn't surprising that Mei had all of his shrubs shaped like the faces of the cards.’
      • ‘On the face of each card is a number - there are two cards of each number from 1 to 12.’
      • ‘The chocolate is accessed by a perforated tear strip on the back face of the card.’
      • ‘But still, is there no means of seeing the faces of the cards?’
      • ‘The faces of the cards in a pack may all be unique, or may include duplicates, depending on the game.’
      • ‘It is announced verbally, or by reversing the card in your hand so that the face is visible to the opponents.’
      • ‘Others drank from flasks and clay bottles, or huddled together to read futures from the faces of playing cards.’
      • ‘Jess fished a pack of Happy Families playing cards out of her pocket, and began making up stories with the jolly smiling faces on the cards.’
      • ‘Once you pick up your cards, you must not look at the backs of any of your other cards - you must only see their faces.’
    7. 2.7 The obverse of a coin.
      • ‘He drew a quick rendition of the two faces of the coin the Lujar had shown him.’
      • ‘Dancing and choreography for me are two faces of the same coin.’
      • ‘The poet's eye can see the two faces of the coin simultaneously.’
      • ‘But high returns and high risk are two faces of the same coin.’
      • ‘Shatner beamed with joy when told he had been selected to be on the face of the coin.’
  • 3with adjective A person of a particular type.

    ‘this season's squad has a lot of old faces in it’
    • ‘We also had a lot of new faces getting familiar with each other.’
    • ‘The cast will include some familiar old faces and a few great newcomers, for which, by the way, the group are always on the lookout.’
    • ‘But so far the only new faces appearing at the church have been those of visitors pledging their support.’
    • ‘Today he is one of the most famous faces on the planet, adored by the English and feared by our opponents.’
    • ‘A lot of the familiar faces have disappeared, but I can still picture them when I look around the room.’
    • ‘His preference is clearly to surround himself with familiar old faces, with the emphasis firmly on experience.’
    • ‘It'll be great to see old friends and new faces, familiar and exciting places.’
    • ‘There are many familiar faces among this year's performers.’
    • ‘Sunday saw fewer people in the hall, as some had come for only one day; however, there were also some new faces.’
    • ‘Most of the cast is comprised of fresh faces, all of whom do solid jobs.’
    • ‘It was good to see the old familiar faces and catch up on the news.’
    • ‘Get yourself in trouble and you'll find there's a distinct lack of friendly faces eager to help.’
    • ‘There were a lot of familiar faces at the pub, which was surprising considering how long it is since I was last there.’
    • ‘She had been a familiar and welcoming face at chaplaincy events and society meetings during the two terms she spent here.’
    • ‘What price can you put on kindness, integrity, a sense of humour and the same familiar face coming through the door?’
    • ‘I gently brush a strand of limp hair from her now unfamiliar face, grown old and distant.’
    • ‘Among the familiar and very funny faces on stage this year are the popular trio of Mick O'Keeffe, Timmy Durney and Mick Malone.’
    • ‘Most are natives of the parish who have returned to spend time with family and friends, good to see the old familiar faces once again.’
  • 4

    short for typeface
    • ‘The most conventional scheme for using typefaces is to use a serif face such as Times New Roman or Georgia for body text and a sans serif face such as Verdana or Arial as a contrast for headlines.’
    • ‘You may use either a variation of the serif font or a contrasting sans serif face for the display type.’
    • ‘Not only are the messages different on each side, but the advertising line is also printed in two type sizes and faces.’


[with object]
  • 1Be positioned with the face or front towards (someone or something)

    ‘he turned to face her’
    • ‘On the bungalow the porch faces the ocean.’
    • ‘Frankie sat facing the door that opened onto the back porch.’
    • ‘But if the same side of the Moon always faces Earth, there should be no lunar tides.’
    look out on, front on to, look towards, be facing, afford a view of, command a view of, have a view of, look across, look over, open out over, look on to, overlook, give on to, give over, be opposite, be opposite to
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    1. 1.1no object, with adverbial of direction Have the face or front pointing in a specified direction.
      ‘the house faces due east’
      • ‘They turned me to face downwards and I had my head in a vice, but the surgeon was ever so nice and set me at ease straight away.’
      • ‘For the best view people are advised to choose a dark location, away from city lights, and face away from the Moon.’
      • ‘This building faces onto Blaxland road and Lane Cove road.’
      • ‘The building faces out over a great bend in the River Tay, which, with a good number of large windows, gives the residence a light and airy feel.’
      • ‘Make sure your 27 cards are faced down in one pile.’
      • ‘Although most rock shelters open on three sides, the Eagle Rock site faces north and is open on only one side.’
      • ‘A breakfast room, which has recently been added onto the kitchen, faces onto the courtyard through a French door.’
      • ‘The kitchen faces out onto the dining room and into the living room, which is about 30 by 20 feet.’
    2. 1.2no object, with adverbial of direction (of a soldier) turn in a particular direction.
      ‘the men had faced about to the front’
      • ‘When Sarge barks, "About face!" he applies the same command to everyone in the platoon, and each soldier executes the command at the same time.’
      • ‘For the movement Right Face, the preparatory command is "Right....", followed by the execution command "Face."’
      • ‘At the execution command "Face", the soldier swivels on his right heel and left toes, through a 90-degree (right) angle to his right.’
  • 2Confront and deal with or accept.

    ‘honesty forced her to face facts’
    no object ‘he was too old to face up to the responsibilities of his position’
    • ‘If we're not prepared to face up soberly to the truth, how the can we expect them to do so?’
    • ‘The main focus at present in the back to school theme that all school goers must face up to.’
    • ‘Board directors are supposed to face up to their difficulties rather than walk away.’
    • ‘Of course not - the answers would be too difficult for a lot of people to face up to.’
    • ‘Thus, the majority of graduates face up to the real world already heavily indebted.’
    • ‘It has been an ordeal, but sometimes, we just have to face up to things, ya know?’
    • ‘So, we've had to face up to some very tough decisions which have had to be made.’
    • ‘We must not be afraid to face up to and express the cause and nature of those fears.’
    • ‘Yet even now there is a wilful refusal on the part of the coalition's critics to face up to reality.’
    • ‘If I have to face up to the fact my feet cannot take it, at least I've given it my best shot.’
    • ‘One of the biggest challenges is to face up to the problem and do something about it.’
    • ‘There is this long term demographic problem that any Government is going to have to face up to.’
    • ‘I am delighted that Scotland on Sunday is forcing society to face up to the crisis in our schools.’
    • ‘This is quite simply something we are going to have to face up to doing as we are amongst the lowest in the league.’
    • ‘It wasn't something I wanted to do but we weren't right for each other and one of us had to face up to it.’
    • ‘But he has got to face up to the need to do it, the need to carry it through, and the need to be seen and heard to do it.’
    • ‘We would also like to see the real culprits forced to face up to their irresponsibility.’
    • ‘He should be forced to face up to his platitudes and obfuscations over the past four years.’
    accept, come to accept, become reconciled to, reconcile oneself to, reach an acceptance, reach an acceptance of, get used to, become accustomed to, adjust to, accommodate oneself to, acclimatize oneself to
    brave, face up to, encounter, meet, meet head-on, confront, dare, defy, oppose, resist, withstand
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    1. 2.1 Have (a difficult situation) in prospect.
      ‘each defendant faced a maximum sentence of 10 years’
      • ‘The threats that our nation faces today are as distinct and remote from that antiquated advice as one can imagine.’
      • ‘A Letterston man faces eviction from the council house in which he has lived for 45 years.’
      • ‘Breaking the conditions of the order could mean Jason could face up to five years in jail.’
      • ‘In around 50 million years, Phobos faces one of two fates.’
      • ‘They will be sentenced next month and could face up to two years imprisonment for each vehicle.’
      • ‘Crowe could face up to seven years in prison if found guilty of all charges against him.’
      • ‘If caught, pirate broadcasters face up to two years in jail and unlimited fines.’
      • ‘Each character faces calamity and lives in a time of upheaval, and each is influenced by those events.’
      • ‘Judge Scott also warned that she could face up to four months in prison if she failed to complete the order.’
      • ‘Rail police warned that people caught trespassing on railways could face up to life in jail.’
      • ‘If he breaks the order, he could face up to five years in prison, a fine or both.’
      be confronted by, be faced with, encounter, experience, come into contact with, run into, come across, meet, come up against, be forced to contend with
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    2. 2.2 (of a problem or difficult situation) present itself to and require action from (someone)
      ‘the difficulties facing British farming’
      • ‘When writers and producers are faced with handling a real life death, their often mirror reality by writing the death into the fictional plot line.’
      • ‘It would not be realistic for local authorities to expect Government through annual grants, to meet all the obligations they are faced with.’
      • ‘I suppose that the lesson here may be that the next time that camp is faced with replacing existing systems, why not consider newer technology?’
      • ‘Students enrolling for such programmes are faced with paying the entire cost themselves or applying for the sponsorship of a private company.’
      • ‘They are faced with a myriad flood of information that they have to process and integrate into their world view very rapidly and quite literally on the fly.’
      • ‘Even if they win an international award, they are faced with strict investigation and the possibility of punishment from the government.’
      • ‘As you know, it is not a problem simply for poor children in this country, wealthier communities are faced with many of the same issues.’
      • ‘That's the bottom line city councillors were faced with this week as they continued along the 2004 budget path.’
      • ‘The States have sought the approval even as the Centre's buy-back programme is faced with resistance from the public sector banks.’
      • ‘Solicitors are faced with clients who have been refused cover for future treatment unless the undertaking is signed.’
      • ‘He said the group is faced with three main issues.’
      • ‘Hence, humanity is faced with a different warfare that of spiritual and moral warfare.’
      • ‘When it comes to implementing and regulating the Protocol, however, developing nations are faced with all kinds of handicaps - for a variety of reasons.’
      • ‘In the past, novice readers who hoped to understand a classic text were faced with having to negotiate layers of annotation.’
      • ‘When test subjects were faced with this noxious combination, the digestive system refused to break down the food and flushed it out as quickly as possible.’
      • ‘I suppose every generation is faced with a choice.’
      • ‘Starting with the ribs, diners are faced with a choice of 13 different types that vary by cut and flavor.’
      • ‘The last few divers onto this wreck were faced with a spoked wheel of distance lines radiating out in all directions.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, existing shareholders are faced with a ‘take it or leave it’ option, but that's another issue.’
      • ‘Thus, council is faced with the task of ‘balancing the needs of those living here today and in the future,’ said Currie.’
      beset, worry, distress, cause trouble to, trouble, bother, confront, burden
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    3. 2.3face someone/something down Overcome someone or something by a show of determination.
      ‘he climbed atop a tank to face down a coup’
      • ‘Face it, and face it down, or expect more where that came from.’
      • ‘There will be a long-term impact, but our kids face it down with courage and honour-the very facets that are missing in some of our members of government.’
      • ‘Others criticise the police for wanting to ‘contain’ sectarian fans rather than face them down and arrest them wholesale.’
      • ‘Zacchaeus had the guts to face them down: ‘he stood his ground’ - but not on his dignity.’
      • ‘There are moments when I feel tired by this, and drained, but then I get up the following morning and decide I'm going to face these people down.’
      • ‘At some point the government is going to have to revisit that agreement and face the unions down.’
      • ‘And Jack was tickled that my mother was one of the first people to really face him down.’
      stand up to, outface, cow, overawe, intimidate, browbeat, confront, beard, outstare, stare down, stare out, defy
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  • 3Cover the surface of (something) with a layer of a different material.

    ‘the external basement walls were faced with granite slabs’
    • ‘If you turn off Tottenham Court Road onto Chenies Street you will see in front of you a building faced with a stone which reflects like a mirror on a sunny day.’
    • ‘The pedestal or ground floor of the main building is faced with granite from Little Cottonwood Canyon.’
    • ‘Dining room and kitchen cabinets and drawers are faced with predominantly gray and blue laminate.’
    cover, clad, veneer, skin, overlay, surface, dress, pave, put a facing on, laminate, inlay, plate, coat, line
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  • face down (or downwards)

    • With the face or surface turned towards the ground.

      ‘he lay face down on his bed’
      • ‘He suffered a head injury and was found face down in the shallow water by a passer-by on Sunday morning.’
      • ‘Paul is lying face down on a treatment couch in a room at the Healing Clinic in York's Fulford Cross.’
      • ‘These had been knocked down by the force of the wind and now lay face down on the tarmac.’
      • ‘One look to the buggy said he wasn't there and one to the floor showed him lying face down having fallen out.’
      • ‘He grinned, and lay face down on the ground, taking up nearly all the space in the room.’
      • ‘I had tripped up and was tumbling over it face down, prone and helpless, the way you do in a bad dream.’
      • ‘The athlete then uses their arms to pull them, feet first, upwards, simultaneously turning about the pole so that they can cross the bar face downwards before dropping on to the mat.’
      • ‘Landulf wept and lay face down on the ground until the emperor sent his proceres over to raise him up and bring him.’
      • ‘Lie face down on the ground, with your hands under your chin and your elbows tucked in close to your body.’
      • ‘Stick them on to individual pieces of card and lay them face down on the table.’
      face down, lying face down, face downwards, on one's stomach, on one's front
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  • someone's face fits

    • Someone has the necessary qualities for something.

      ‘if your face didn't fit they could get rid of you within twelve months’
      • ‘If your face fits, you'll get the job.’
      • ‘But he would be well advised not to treat the game too lightly when faced with the task of ensuring his face fits at the Edinburgh club.’
  • face the music

    • Be confronted with the unpleasant consequences of one's actions.

      ‘we would later have to face the music over our bold moves’
      • ‘The main perpetrator has not been found and Shane is here facing the music.’
      • ‘This is my fear - being confronted with my irresponsibility, facing the music of my selfishness, learning that I've been caught doing my most embarrassing action.’
      • ‘But unless you are in the top 50 then you have to face the music, and the music is that you're not in the tournament.’
      • ‘There's an anonymous quote which goes: ‘A real leader faces the music, even when he doesn't like the tune.’’
      • ‘But a guitar-strumming member of the faithful political band has faced the music on a minor drugs charge.’
      • ‘The defendant acknowledged what he did was wrong, had not sought to distance himself and was facing the music.’
      • ‘The bottom line is that athletes need to clean up, start facing the music and actually start acting like role models.’
      • ‘‘I was scared witless, so I just sank a double brandy, said to myself it's now or never ’, and faced the music.’
      • ‘Instead of facing the music, the multibillionaire decamped for Switzerland, beyond the reach of U.S. law.’
      • ‘Both those at the helm of affairs and those guilty of the crime would like to close the chapter either because it is too embarrassing an issue for them or because they may have to face the music if law takes its own course.’
  • the face of the earth

    • Used for emphasis, to refer to the existence or disappearance of someone or something.

      ‘he's just disappeared off the face of the earth’
      ‘the most gruelling training on the face of the earth’
      • ‘Why are you the only human being on the face of the planet who could possibly write this book?’
      • ‘I can't remember whether she said this was going to happen or has she just disappeared off the face of the earth?’
      • ‘This stretch of highway is quite possibly the most boring road on the face of the planet.’
      • ‘‘This is not an argument for wiping badgers off the face of the earth,’ he writes.’
      • ‘She felt like screaming and crying and just disappearing off of the face of the earth all at the same time.’
      • ‘Being a helpdesk operator has to be one of the most thankless tasks on the face of the planet.’
      • ‘Why have they seemingly vanished from the face of the planet in terms of their public profile?’
      • ‘Today, and for all my tomorrows, I consider myself the luckiest person on the face of the earth.’
      • ‘Within 30 hours of the move she had gone - disappeared off the face of the earth.’
      • ‘Common sense seems to be disappearing off the face of the earth.’
  • face up (or upwards)

    • With the face or surface turned upwards to view.

      ‘place the panel face up before cutting’
      • ‘We'd deal a hand each, put the rest of the deck between us, turn the top card on the deck face up, and begin.’
      • ‘Placing an object face upwards so as to be visible to a friend a hundred miles away would be to put it in the public sphere.’
      • ‘Announce the number of cards you wish to exchange aloud, when you lay them face down on the table.’
      • ‘Let's start with cards on the table face upwards.’
      • ‘When doing this exercise, lie face up with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor.’
  • get out of someone's face

    • informal usually as imperativeStop harassing or annoying someone.

      ‘shut up and get out of my face’
      • ‘I'm sorry, but you wouldn't get out of my face so I had to say something to make you stop.’
      • ‘I'm tired, I'm hungry, I have no money, I'm going to lose my job and I'm going to fail my junior year of high school if you don't get out of my face.’
      • ‘‘Ugh, get out of my face, James,’ I say rudely before pushing him away.’
      • ‘Looking up at her in the same glare I had used before, I replied, ‘Either ask me to move nicely, or get out of my face.’’
      • ‘He said that they wouldn't get out of his face and were calling him all sorts of ugly names.’
      • ‘I don't like to be looked at so get out of my face!’
      • ‘Now get out of my face before I really lose my temper.’
      • ‘I don't care where you go, just get out of my face.’
      • ‘It's none of your business, Kass, get out of my face!’
      • ‘She'd have called me a liar and told me to get out of her face.’
  • have the face to do something

    • dated Have the effrontery to do something.

      • ‘I wonder he had the face to talk so: but he lent me money, and that's enough.’
      • ‘And now, instantly after that amazing and mad generosity, she had the face to look cross because he would not buy Wilbraham Hall!’
      effrontery, audacity, nerve, gall, brazenness, brashness, shamelessness
      View synonyms
  • in one's face

    • Directly at or against one; as one approaches.

      ‘she slammed the door in my face’
      • ‘Whenever he goes to play in public, he seems to get doors slammed in his face.’
      • ‘I'm not the sort of person who can brusquely say ‘not today thank you’ and slam the door firmly in their face.’
      • ‘And then she shut the door in our faces, left us there on the front porch and went to make the cup of tea.’
      • ‘One pensioner refused to allow the caller into her house, and slammed the door in his face.’
      • ‘Time does not make the frustrations of having so many doors slammed in your face less painful.’
      • ‘One chap slammed the door in his face but not before he told him he already had enough double-glazing.’
      • ‘I have visited hundreds of people and had the door slammed in my face.’
      • ‘If so, I think he might get upset and potentially bitter when the door gets slammed in his face.’
      • ‘I introduced myself, waiting for the door to be slammed in my face and, surprise, she let me in and started to talk.’
      • ‘So we have no public policy and that has a very - a very bad effect on our scientists because they don't know what to do because the door might be slammed in their face.’
  • in face (or the face) of

    • 1When confronted with.

      ‘her resolution in the face of the enemy’
      • ‘While the game is about individuals in the face of confrontation, it is also about partnerships.’
      • ‘Claremorris were not without chances during this period of play, and a somewhat over elaborate approach was a faulty tactic in face of resolute opposition defending.’
      • ‘Surviving in the face of adversity is a prerequisite for Newfoundland's logging contractors.’
      • ‘This does not mean that you should do nothing in the face of adversity or confrontation.’
      • ‘As a group they command very little respect, but they must stand firm in the face of any confrontation.’
      • ‘It was a good resolution, but one that failed in the face of a lovely sunny day.’
      1. 1.1Despite.
        ‘reform had been introduced in the face of considerable opposition’
        • ‘This is his key argument, but it flies in the face of what most environmentalists probably hold to be true.’
        • ‘On the other hand, he's had a successful career despite this and smiled in the face of adversity.’
        • ‘I felt kind of sorry for the guy, especially in the face of what I was about to do.’
        • ‘It's a dire time, and pragmatism beats out idealism in the face of what we're all up against.’
        • ‘I mean, it is quite a thing to take away a man's job, even in the face of what looks to be gross misconduct.’
        • ‘People scratched their heads at the time in the face of what seemed an unlikely match.’
        • ‘When asked how she keeps going in the face of all her challenges, she smiles quietly.’
        • ‘They are also working to predict future demand in the face of further housing development.’
        • ‘It's so easy to feel powerless in the face of all this stuff that it's very easy to give up.’
        • ‘David Blunkett has achieved much in life in the face of great personal adversity.’
        despite, notwithstanding, regardless of, for all
        View synonyms
  • lose face

    • Be humiliated or come to be less highly respected.

      ‘the code of conduct required that he strike back or lose face’
      • ‘Also, asking for clarification may indicate lack of expertise and people don't want to lose face in doing that.’
      • ‘Many leaders don't want to lose face by admitting failures.’
      respect, honour, esteem, regard, admiration, approbation, acclaim, approval, favour, appreciation, popularity, estimation, veneration, awe, reverence, deference, recognition, prestige, standing, status, dignity, glory, kudos, cachet, image
      View synonyms
  • loss of face

    • Humiliation.

      ‘he could step aside now without loss of face’
      • ‘But we have to learn diplomacy to show there is no loss of face in having basic skills improved, and we have to discover the talents that make people feel better about themselves.’
      • ‘The question now is whether they will try to extricate themselves without too much loss of face or future (he could still win, of course).’
      • ‘Most sportspeople who operate at the highest level are paid - directly or indirectly - and without loss of face by administrators.’
      • ‘When working with victims of partner or marital violence, the entry point to rapport building is to acknowledge victims' feelings of guilt, shame, and loss of face about seeking help.’
      • ‘I've incurred so many: loss of face (quite literally), cuts, bruises, lost tooth, a mysterious ‘third knee’ etc. etc.’
      • ‘If I'm right, the next few years are going to see a lot of anguish from computer users who have suddenly realised that hard disk failure involves more than just inconvenience and loss of face.’
      • ‘His recent attack of you was childish and abusive and I was embarrassed for him for having lost control and showing anger in public, which in Asia entails a loss of face.’
      • ‘But I do think that we have to pursue an approach that allows them to back off without a tremendous loss of face, because they will not accept anything else, and we have to stay clear of apology.’
      • ‘You never know, we could see the day when anyone who loses the egg and spoon race will sue the school for loss of face.’
      • ‘Because of the loss of face, she completely severed communications with me, even though she was supposed to use my advice and help for a project.’
  • make (or pull) a face (or faces)

    • Produce a facial expression that shows dislike or some other negative emotion, or that is intended to be amusing.

      ‘Anna pulled a funny face at the girl’
      • ‘Nuvolari had a colourful driving style, sitting up high in the seat and pulling faces while racing.’
      • ‘She paused, pulling a face in dislike of its plainness.’
      • ‘She pulls a face to suggest that he was not happy about being called up, but he went in any case.’
      • ‘Daniel pulled a face at Arthur, making clear his disapproval and dislike of Alicia's suitor.’
      • ‘So the next time you see me grimacing and tying to make faces: actually I'm not.’
      • ‘He was shouting at me and pulling faces and laughing.’
      • ‘By the time, Revathy walked in, barely 10 minutes after the children were seated, one little boy was in tears and screaming while the rest were making futile attempts at pulling faces to cheer him up.’
      • ‘When she caught him looking at her she frowned and made a face at him until he turned away.’
      • ‘He hides behind the door and pulls faces at the camera.’
      • ‘It's pure clownery, making faces and funny sounds in the hope that somebody will laugh.’
      grimace, scowl, wry face, wince, frown, glower, smirk, pout, moue
      View synonyms
  • off one's face

    • informal Very drunk or under the influence of illegal drugs.

      ‘I had a great time going out clubbing and getting off my face’
      • ‘Back then, doormen were selling everything, and getting off their face and beating people up.’
      • ‘He said all agreed that in moderation alcohol was a good thing but that TV advertisements portrayed ‘people getting off their face on alcohol’.’
      • ‘I'd lose time too if I spent half my existence off my face while the taxi driver takes the scenic route home.’
      • ‘Slater was reported to be off his face on liquor and didn't agree with the arrest.’
      • ‘You want to get off your face on jungle drugs and see visions.’
      • ‘But the promotion and celebration of a drugs culture, which they started, has been catastrophic - along with the idea that being off your face on drugs is equivalent to a state of grace.’
      • ‘Of course I took some drugs, and of course I got off my face.’
      • ‘It may have been psychosomatic, but I swear I was feeling drunk, high, and generally off my face.’
      intoxicated, inebriated, drunken, befuddled, incapable, tipsy, the worse for drink, under the influence, maudlin
      View synonyms
  • on the face of it

    • Without knowing all of the relevant facts; apparently.

      ‘on the face of it, these improvements look to be insignificant’
      • ‘Like peace before the storm, Sunday was marked by total inaction at least on the face of it.’
      • ‘However, on the face of it, I thought probation might be appropriate.’
      • ‘That, on the face of it, was a decision on the facts and on the background evidence before the adjudicator.’
      • ‘You may suspect something's terribly wrong here and, on the face of it, you would be right.’
      • ‘I have had a look at that, and I think the reason is apparent on the face of it.’
      • ‘And I think that we found that they are not as dissimilar as they seem on the face of it.’
      • ‘Consumers, on the face of it, will be offered an attractive deal.’
      • ‘So although on the face of it, I felt like I was back to normal, it seems I wasn't quite ready for staying up late.’
      • ‘I know nothing of the court case in question but, on the face of it, this seems a very reasonable position.’
      • ‘The occasion, on the face of it, was certainly not a happy one but the approach to it was so simple that it became a beautiful one.’
      ostensibly, to the casual eye, at face value, to all appearances, from appearances, to go by appearances, to judge by appearances, to all intents and purposes, at first glance, on the surface, superficially
      View synonyms
  • put a brave (or bold) face on something

    • Act as if something unpleasant is not as bad as it really is.

      ‘he was putting a brave face on it but she knew he was shattered’
      • ‘Meanwhile, Ostenstad is putting a brave face on his own injury set-back.’
      • ‘Very often nobody in the house knows how you feel and you put a brave face on it.’
      • ‘She was sure her absolute terror was showing but she tried to put a brave face on it anyway.’
      • ‘He has put a brave face on it but he has taken it as a personal insult to himself and what he has achieved.’
      • ‘Mrs Driffill was putting a brave face on it yesterday as her daughter, son-in-law and neighbours flocked to help her mop up the water and thick mud.’
      • ‘He is staying very positive but is hugely disappointed and is putting a brave face on it.’
      • ‘That put a brave face on it, but there were guilty consciences wherever you looked.’
      • ‘Mrs Rollinson's 61-year-old son, Keith, said: ‘She's trying to put a brave face on it and we're doing what we can to improve security, but she's just wondering when it will happen again.’’
      • ‘I can put a brave face on it, but really all I want to do is be by myself and weep for a month.’
      • ‘Tracey Morris tries to put a brave face on it, but there is no disguising the fact she is bitterly disappointed not to be competing in tomorrow's race.’
      front, show, display, act, appearance, false front, facade, exterior, guise, mask, masquerade, pretence, charade, pose, illusion, smokescreen, veneer, camouflage
      View synonyms
  • put one's face on

    • informal Apply make-up to one's face.

      ‘Paula spent two minutes putting on her face first thing’
      • ‘Plus, Mom was blasting music in the next room while she was putting her face on.’
      • ‘It wasn't so much a conspiracy, as a rebellion against artifice, against middle age, against the idea that you could not leave the house ‘without putting your face on’.’
  • save face

    • Avoid humiliation.

      ‘allowing the guerrillas to save face and disarm’
      • ‘It was a matter of saving face, not of saving games.’
      • ‘As Tongans themselves point out, Tonga is what anthropologists call a shame culture, where personal and family image counts for much and saving face is of paramount importance.’
      • ‘Reluctantly, they'll find a way of saving face while admitting that they're not quite up to where I want them to be.’
      • ‘That way, it would save face for me and avoid any further conflicts with Tinka and Victor.’
      • ‘The Foyle Assembly member said: ‘If this is about saving face, then people will be sceptical.’’
      • ‘As is typical with these sorts of arrangements, it only takes one slip to start an avalanche, coincidence always plays into the hands of the betrayed, and the most important thing above all is saving face.’
      • ‘It is clear that the way people react in the early stages of a breaking scandal will often mean the difference between saving face and losing all credibility.’
      • ‘The win yesterday was very much a case of two old professionals doing what they do best and saving face for the national team.’
      • ‘In tribally run district courts and within families, decisions that rule women's lives are a matter of obedience, convention and saving face.’
      • ‘One day an estranged celebrity couple is getting along; the next day it's an all-out war over custody, property or saving face.’
  • save someone's face

    • Enable someone to avoid humiliation.

      ‘he might be pretending to help her to save his face in front of Katarina’
      • ‘I say to him that he should save his face and vote against this bill.’
      • ‘So is it better to tell and hurt or lie to save their face?’
      • ‘Yet even as he spoke he was conscious that this verbal attempt to save his face did him no better service than his fencing.’
      • ‘She said Parnell went through with the wedding: ‘To save my face and stop me looking like a complete idiot.’’
      • ‘He could have saved his face, but he had to let it out.’
      • ‘And under no circumstances will you ask her to wrap her own presents the night before Christmas in order to save your face in front of her parents.’
      • ‘Here is a simple three-step program to save your face.’
      • ‘Or you could just withdraw all the actions, but though it'll save your face from the drip-drip of bad publicity, it'll still make you look like a bunch of bungle-bounces.’
  • set one's face against

    • Resist with determination.

      ‘he had set his face against the idea’
      • ‘In view of the recent highlighting of farm income difficulties, there no longer could be any justification for either the Minister for Agriculture or other parties to set their face against change, he said.’
      • ‘I didn't set my face against him and say I'd never get married because I wanted to go into politics, it just happened.’
      • ‘I read that Seend have set their face against traffic calming, removed road markings and seen traffic speeds drop by 5mph.’
      • ‘His home had become tainted; he set his face against it and loped away down the country lane.’
      • ‘We set our face against any kind of empire building and this has helped generate trust.’
      • ‘But unless rents were to rise significantly, and we have set our face against such a change, progress would be slow.’
      • ‘Can't he see that even the gods have set their face against him continuing?’
      • ‘Ireland, legally united with England in 1801, was still very uncertainly pacified, yet George III had set his face against the measure Pitt thought most likely to expedite that pacification, the admission of Catholics to Parliament.’
      • ‘It was this principle - that once anything can be relative, nothing can be certain - which led him to set his face against the trend towards moral relativism.’
      • ‘Facial mapping was a relatively new technique, and this court agreed with the trial judge that ‘one should not set one's face against fresh developments, provided that they have a proper foundation.’’
      be against, object to, be hostile to, be anti, be in opposition to, disagree with, dislike, disapprove of
      View synonyms
  • throw something back in someone's face

    • Reject something in a brusque or ungracious manner.

      ‘she'd given him her trust and he'd thrown it back in her face’
      • ‘Then, when they see you again (and they always see you again), the words are thrown back in your face.’
      • ‘Honestly, I try to be nice to the boy and he throws it back in my face.’
      • ‘How could he throw her generosity back in her face?’
      • ‘The vision paper was lost in the cacophony of protests from angry parents who wrapped the closure proposals up with the vision paper and threw the whole lot back in the council 's face.’
      • ‘And like with all bullies, I also think the best way to treat such behaviour is to throw it back in their face - so it would be right to wear the incident like a badge of honour.’
      • ‘He worked hard to provide a service for just the kind of kids who threw it back in his face.’
      • ‘When he gave them 300 roubles, the soldiers threw the notes back in his face and said: ‘You have dollars and only want to give us roubles.’’
      • ‘We gave it every chance, but our goodwill has been thrown back in our face.’
      • ‘I was extending an olive branch and all you can do is throw it back in my face.’
      • ‘I put my health and safety on the line so she can go to a party and she throws it back in my face.’
  • to one's face

    • Openly in one's presence.

      ‘if you've got something to say to me, say it to my face’
      • ‘It's one thing being fed falsehoods over TV and radio but another kettle of rotten fish altogether when they do it straight to your face.’
      • ‘You don't often get rude things said to your face, but you get people writing letters, often anonymously, attacking your wish to be treated as fully human.’
      • ‘I will tell you to your face what I've said off; no one can teach it better than you.’
      • ‘Is it just me or does Gordon Campbell remind you of a person, most of you know one, who will say something to your face and laugh about you or tell stories about you behind your back?’
      • ‘Why can't I be brave enough to ask you to your face?’
      • ‘Either he doesn't have enough nerve to call, or he has so much nerve that he lies to your face.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • face off

    • Take up an attitude of confrontation, especially at the start of a fight or game.

      ‘close to a million soldiers face off in the desert’
      • ‘Ellis now found himself at Tiger Stadium for the All-Star Game, facing off against Blue in an historic matchup of minority pitchers.’
      • ‘This one of the most dangerous situations on the globe: two large countries with nuclear capability facing off against each other.’
      • ‘Divided into two teams of four, they face off in a game of paintball warfare in the woods.’
      • ‘The two teams will face off in a second game on Saturday at 2 p.m.’
      • ‘Joseph stepped away from the fallen soldiers and faced off against Saldraen.’
      • ‘Some 60,000 French soldiers faced off 6,000 English soldiers, mainly archers.’
      • ‘At the end of the month, weekly winners will then move on to the deathmatch round, facing off in a final reader poll.’


Middle English: from Old French, based on Latin facies ‘form, appearance, face’.