Definition of confront in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Meet (someone) face to face with hostile or argumentative intent.

    ‘300 policemen confronted an equal number of union supporters’
    • ‘On the other side of the coin, we are getting more teachers who are now having to confront hostile parents, and they are able to exercise some of their own rights.’
    • ‘There are American flags everywhere in the grounds, and at the main gates you're confronted by six policemen in what looks like full riot gear, standing to attention.’
    • ‘At the end of the film he learns to confront his mother, defy his family and find his own gay way.’
    • ‘When he recovered he confronted me in a threatening manner, before leaving in a barrage of shouted obscenities.’
    • ‘It helped her defuse a life-threatening situation in the Himalayas, when she and her friends were confronted by knife-carrying attackers.’
    • ‘The situation soon turned violent, and cadets were forced to confront the hostile crowd.’
    • ‘Normally, colleagues will resist confronting you - or will come off as petty and jealous by sharing their concerns.’
    • ‘She confronts him and their argument leads to a seemingly final split.’
    • ‘It is significant that all of the films are sympathetic to refugees and immigrants, who arrive in an alien country, often with no money, to confront hostile officials and racist slurs.’
    • ‘Two men confronted a motorist before assaulting his passenger in a road rage attack.’
    • ‘The model is a security guard in a shopping centre, or a policeman confronting a criminal.’
    • ‘Unlike their aikido counterparts, judoka, although engaged in a sport, regularly confront opponents who resist in practice and competition.’
    • ‘Instead of spreading out and confronting their neighbors in hostile face-offs, foraging sanderlings bunched together in tight little flocks.’
    • ‘The next time they see a Garda approaching they will probably confront that officer and question his/her right to stop them on the street.’
    • ‘According to the police report, he confronted him after the guard detained his stepdaughter.’
    • ‘Two other policemen were also less seriously injured when they confronted the man in a corridor in the station.’
    • ‘She had barely escaped disinheritance but that didn't stop her from confronting her father or taunting him about her lifestyle.’
    • ‘Two teenagers from Chelmsford have been praised for their bravery after confronting a man who attacked his woman partner.’
    challenge, square up to, oppose, resist, defy, beard, tackle, attack, assault
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    1. 1.1 (of a problem, difficulty, etc.) present itself to (someone) so that dealing with it cannot be avoided.
      ‘post-czarist Russia was confronted with a Ukrainian national movement’
      • ‘Like many ethical issues, the confidentiality of the doctor-patient relationship sounds straightforward until you are confronted with difficult cases.’
      • ‘Similar difficulties confront historians who are primarily concerned with written evidence.’
      • ‘But even layers of the population who in the past were able to make a fairly secure living are now confronted with financial difficulties that were previously quite alien to them.’
      • ‘First, the mentally ill are confronted with the problem of dealing with the disturbing and potentially debilitating symptoms of a mental or emotional disorder.’
      • ‘But suppose we are confronted with a problem of courage?’
      • ‘This contempt and indifference simply underscores the fact that the ruling class has no solution to any of the immense social problems confronting working people.’
      • ‘None of the major parties have any solutions to the political and social problems confronting working people here or anywhere else, he explained.’
      • ‘Profound Self-Confidence is exemplified when a child is confronted with a difficult task and his first response is the certainty that he can accomplish it.’
      • ‘Arguably, however, less tractable difficulties confront him in the realm of spirits.’
      • ‘What happens when you're confronted with a difficult day?’
      • ‘There are a number of major wetland issues in the world that geologists need to be aware of because it is probably only a matter of time before Canadians may be confronted with similar problems.’
      • ‘Having decided to return to a 100 percent gold dollar, we are confronted with the problem of how to go about it.’
      • ‘Here she came face to face with the welfare and social problems confronting large families.’
      • ‘When the mayor is confronted with a problem or disagreement, his first instinct is to either fire someone or sue someone.’
      • ‘But these efforts have been confronted with the difficulties which usually present themselves in such cases.’
      • ‘When most people are confronted with a problem, their instinct is to impose limits, get the problem under some kind of control.’
      • ‘We certainly aren't confronted with the problem in our day-to-day lives.’
      • ‘It showed how short the collective memory is when confronted with economic difficulties.’
      • ‘A spate of suicides in March and April in poor rural areas has drawn attention to the terrible social conditions and economic difficulties confronting farmers in many parts of Sri Lanka.’
      • ‘Now we are confronted with the problem of knowing what primroses to grow.’
      trouble, bother, be in someone's way, burden, distress, cause trouble to, cause suffering to, face, beset, harass, worry, oppress, annoy, vex, irritate, exasperate, strain, stress, tax
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    2. 1.2 Face up to and deal with (a problem or difficult situation)
      ‘usually the best thing you can do in an embarrassing situation isto confront it head on’
      • ‘I would confront my problems and deal with them.’
      • ‘But really that avoids rather than confronts the problem.’
      • ‘And, sadly, few First Amendment activists have really seriously confronted the problems with it.’
      • ‘I believe it's the President's job to confront problems, not to pass them on to future Presidents and future generations.’
      • ‘The discrimination exists across all of society and, according to this research, has infiltrated into the agencies charged with confronting the problem.’
      • ‘Beyond the infinite number of troubles caused by getting away with pure talk, the contemporary politicians also will not confront the real problems.’
      • ‘Seemingly, as the year progressed, African leaders took heed and confronted the problem, taking steps to end the cycle of violence in some countries.’
      • ‘Women from Africa, Asia and Latin America have employed different approaches to confront these problems.’
      • ‘On the contrary, he was interested in their welfare and urged them to confront problems which were likely to crop up once the association began functioning.’
      • ‘To them, the problem was confronted and dealt with.’
      • ‘The confrontation will eventually come, and then it will be much worse than if we had confronted the problem in the first place when it could have been avoided.’
      • ‘If we're serious about confronting our problems, a good starting point could be to use our time here at SFU to critically examine how and why we ended up here and what can be done differently in the future.’
      • ‘They therefore decided to confront the problem by mounting a charm offensive.’
      • ‘They no longer have any sense of working class solidarity, whereby communities would work together to confront common problems (such as the Depression).’
      • ‘While the demise of some new economy cheerleaders sent America into shock, the feeling now is that it benefited from being forced to confront its problems, a move that helped speed up the recovery.’
      • ‘For those who claim to possess moral and spiritual values in reserves greater than their counterparts, why not come forward and confront the problem in an open and transparent manner?’
      • ‘This document confronts the problem of the excessive concentration of land in large properties and the excessive pulverisation of little enterprises, often at the margins of the market.’
      • ‘Uganda has confronted the AIDS problem with one of the most successful information campaigns on the Continent.’
      • ‘Experts explained that Japan confronted the same problem during its period of rapid economic growth, with many husbands too worn out at work to satisfy their wives.’
      • ‘Despite the looming calamity, no one has confronted the core problem.’
      tackle, get to grips with, apply oneself to, address oneself to, address, face, set about, go about, get to work at, busy oneself with, set one's hand to, grapple with, approach, take on, attend to, see to, throw oneself into, try to solve, try to deal with, try to cope with, learn to live with, try to sort out
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    3. 1.3 Compel (someone) to face or consider something, especially by way of accusation.
      ‘Tricia confronted him with her suspicions’
      • ‘It was going to take me a while before I would consider even confronting Julian about this subject and there was no way in hell I was going to talk about this to her over the phone.’
      • ‘Consider what he says to her when she confronts him: he admits that he ‘overreacted.’’
      • ‘The thesis here proposed is that he was confronted in Galatia with accusations brought against him by some of his own victims.’
      • ‘But when you confront him, approach him as a concerned parent and not as the victim.’
      • ‘Ella had seemed like the most obvious suspect, and I'd considered confronting her, but she had confronted me the first day I returned to school.’
      • ‘She considered confronting her about it, but quickly disregarded the idea.’
      • ‘She is not easily fooled and confronts him for not resisting the pressure.’
      • ‘Sometimes I confront them with suspicions and accusations based on premonitions, not proof.’
      • ‘This same question confronts anyone who considers the period from 1975 to 1983.’
      • ‘Caregivers are likely to meet resistance when confronting a parent or grandparent about the safety of his or her driving.’
      • ‘It's not easy to confront a boss with an accusation of fraud.’
      • ‘Things were so bad that he finally felt compelled to confront one reporter and ask that she meet his eye and not walk away when he spoke.’
      • ‘It is the man who was responsible for her father's death and she feels compelled to confront him.’
      present, bring face to face, face
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    4. 1.4usually be confronted Appear or be placed in front of (someone) so as to unsettle or threaten.
      ‘we were confronted with pictures of moving skeletons’
      • ‘In this work, the viewer is confronted with images of various cityscapes.’
      • ‘The scene that confronted us appeared tranquil: a flock of vultures perched, on watch, up in a clump of trees overlooking a large herd of waterbuck browsing on the near bank.’
      • ‘On one of the panel sets, the subject was confronted with images of pornography while on the other, these images were progressively intercut with his own childhood home movies until the two sides were each totally distinct.’
      • ‘Pushing open the door to investigate, I was confronted by what appeared to be a tea dance for - well, to put it politely - ladies of a certain age.’
      • ‘Entering, you are confronted with what appears to be a blow-up of a Seventies newsprint photograph of a star.’
      • ‘Window shopping is set to take on a whole new meaning as Londoners are confronted with images of sex, bondage and passion as part of a series of new art installations on Charing Cross Road.’
      • ‘On entering their front door we were confronted by shelves and shelves of head and tail light clusters.’


Mid 16th century: from French confronter, from medieval Latin confrontare, from Latin con- ‘with’ + frons, front- ‘face’.