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.

    • ‘They were walking determinedly, but in the darkness, she could not distinguish their faces.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She felt immediate relief as she found herself looking at a familiar long, freckled face with sandy bangs.’
    • ‘The woman's fair face was ashen; beads of sweat formed at her temples.’
    • ‘A man and a woman laugh, watching each other's faces over a candlelit dinner.’
    • ‘Their weathered faces, full of character, look down upon Lee as he fixes a bridle.’
    • ‘It would be interesting to know is whether people with symmetrical faces have longer life expectancies.’
    • ‘In his dream he looked upon the moon and saw the face of the goddess looking down upon her people.’
    • ‘I brushed her long dark hair from her face and caressed her cheek in an effort to calm her.’
    • ‘My voice broke and the tears fell down my face as I wrapped my arms around his solid torso.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The face is characteristically square or broad with a short neck, often giving a squat appearance.’
    • ‘I watched their faces and wished, desperately and irrationally, that these boys would understand.’
    • ‘The old man's wrinkled face creased into a warm smile.’
    • ‘Emily buried her face into her pillow and started to drift off to sleep.’
    • ‘His eyes were a solid dark blue, and his face showed the beginning signs of middle age.’
    • ‘Probably weighing around 20 stone, a bald man with a moon face stood there, looking sad and bemused.’
    countenance, physiognomy, profile, features
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    1. 1.1 The face as expressing emotion; 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.’
      • ‘He read the letter, then with a face of anger, crumpled it up and threw it on the ground.’
      • ‘I joked, watching as their faces twist with frustration, annoyed that I was avoiding the subject.’
      • ‘Her smile faded slowly as she saw her father's face turn serious.’
      • ‘The woman's face darkened and she stopped.’
      • ‘James, one of the now gloomy faces at the dining room table, had brought me a sketch of St. Vincent de Paul.’
      • ‘The big group fell silent and watched with eerily solemn faces as the two girls approached.’
      • ‘I looked around the room, watching the girls' faces change from looks of accusation to pity and understanding.’
      • ‘I watched some pretty serious faces as shooters battled it out for 15th or 20th place in a category.’
      • ‘Turning her straight face into a frown, she turned herself away from him.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Does he regularly practice his poker face in front of the mirror?’
      • ‘Then, in a second, the old woman's face had softened back into its regular form.’
      • ‘She looked at everyone and saw concerned faces watching her intently.’
      • ‘The last thing I saw through the closing crack was dozens of pale, terrified faces watching us in confusion.’
      • ‘On Sunday, I visited the Art Gallery of Ontario and met a familiar but nervous face.’
      • ‘Blaze is leaning back in her chair without blinking, with tears running down her blank, expressionless face.’
      • ‘And if you're thinking the way the character thinks, your face and body will change.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘He has a face so unusually characterful that it almost defies caricature.’
      grimace, scowl, wry face, wince, frown, glower, smirk, pout, moue
      expression, facial expression, look, appearance, air, manner, bearing, countenance, guise, cast, aspect, impression
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    2. 1.2 A manifestation or outward aspect of something.
      ‘the unacceptable face of social drinking’
      • ‘These mountain are most assuredly another of the distinctive four faces of Algeria.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Although alcoholism remains the number one dependency problem among judges and lawyers, the face of addiction continues to change.’
      aspect, air, nature, image
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    3. 1.3[with adjective] A person of a particular type.
      ‘this season's squad has a lot of old faces in it’
      • ‘It was good to see the old familiar faces and catch up on the news.’
      • ‘Among the familiar and very funny faces on stage this year are the popular trio of Mick O'Keeffe, Timmy Durney and Mick Malone.’
      • ‘Today he is one of the most famous faces on the planet, adored by the English and feared by our opponents.’
      • ‘Most of the cast is comprised of fresh faces, all of whom do solid jobs.’
      • ‘Get yourself in trouble and you'll find there's a distinct lack of friendly faces eager to help.’
      • ‘We also had a lot of new faces getting familiar with each other.’
      • ‘What price can you put on kindness, integrity, a sense of humour and the same familiar face coming through the door?’
      • ‘It'll be great to see old friends and new faces, familiar and exciting places.’
      • ‘His preference is clearly to surround himself with familiar old faces, with the emphasis firmly on experience.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I gently brush a strand of limp hair from her now unfamiliar face, grown old and distant.’
      • ‘But so far the only new faces appearing at the church have been those of visitors pledging their support.’
      • ‘There were a lot of familiar faces at the pub, which was surprising considering how long it is since I was last there.’
      • ‘A lot of the familiar faces have disappeared, but I can still picture them when I look around the room.’
      • ‘She had been a familiar and welcoming face at chaplaincy events and society meetings during the two terms she spent here.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2The surface of a thing, especially one that is presented to the view or has a particular function, in particular.

    1. 2.1Geometry Each of the surfaces of a solid.
      ‘the faces of a cube’
      • ‘Faces in graph theory are a lot like the six 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.’
      • ‘This time, it had the shape of a trapezoid on four faces, making it look like a thimble with four right angles.’
      • ‘A triangular pyramid, or tetrahedron, has a triangular base and four faces, counting the bottom.’
      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 south face of Broad Peak’
      • ‘For example, plains give way to rising mountain passes with steep cliff faces, and islands peek mysteriously out of lakes and seas.’
      • ‘Springs can occur in uplands if zones of perched water extend laterally to cliff faces or other steep slopes.’
      • ‘But he felt a renewed sense of betrayal when Bonington climbed the north face of the Eiger without him.’
      • ‘This source of ore is quite iron poor, unlike the ores that were later to be quarried out from cliff faces.’
      • ‘Matt grabs the rock face with his bare hands and starts climbing grimly.’
      • ‘It didn't take him much longer to reach a point where he could climb down the cliff face.’
      • ‘Contrary to popular belief, the bird's nests are not found in the faces of cliffs but in caves.’
      • ‘These have produced scarps with vertical cliff faces up to 800 meters high.’
      • ‘Twenty years ago its soaring cliff faces and base was free of human habitation, and the tower stood tall.’
      • ‘The mountains are massive red sandstone lumps, their vertical faces rising to table-tops or dropping sheer into canyons.’
      • ‘Here the road has been hewn out of solid rock, so the cliff face overhangs the narrow roadway.’
      • ‘Such people were the first to leave the cave and see what was on the other side of the cliff face.’
      • ‘The steep north faces of the escarpments escaped cultivation and the worst effects of logging.’
      • ‘Ocean waves pummel the rocky cliff faces, eventually turning some of the rocks into sand.’
      • ‘A thin trickle of water drips down the dank side of a cliff face to splash into the stream below.’
      • ‘They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This is why we have to be very careful close to either the flat ground or a cliff or mountain face.’
      • ‘The researchers counted snail shells in soil samples from nooks of climbed and unclimbed faces of the limestone cliffs.’
      • ‘Diving through one of the many submarine tunnels and along the cliff faces is truly exhilarating.’
    3. 2.3 The side of a planet or moon facing the observer.
      • ‘The face of the planet swung beneath them, and then they were coming down again, down and down.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.
      • ‘The glazed faces of the building terminate campus circulation routes.’
      • ‘The three outer faces are very similar with a tall arch over the steps.’
      • ‘Fireworks screamed up into the sky, exploding all around us and strobing the face of every building.’
      • ‘On the faces of the building, it is difficult to tell where the floors are.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The general orientation of the buildings is east-west, with most window openings in the north and south faces.’
      • ‘In older units, the dividing line was very often the exterior face of a wall.’
      • ‘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 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.’
    5. 2.5 The plate of a clock or watch bearing the digits or hands.
      • ‘A typical map divides the eye into sections, using the image of a clock face as a base.’
      • ‘Watch faces, found at flea markets and removed from their bands, are arranged precisely on a tray.’
      • ‘And I love how one of the clock faces of the Fendi Secret Dual Time watch is always very subtly covered.’
      • ‘Moiré and mother of pearl pastel watch faces in colours like pink and aqua and agate will also capture an iridescent feel.’
      • ‘I couldn't see the clock in the bathroom because of the condensation on the clock face.’
      • ‘The turret wall, a fort-like structure enclosing a 25-foot tower leads up to an analog clock with two faces.’
      • ‘They are also very well known for their simple, clean watch faces and designs.’
      • ‘Here, traditional analogue clocks with crisp modern faces sit within achingly fashionable hoods.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On top of each table were a wooden chess set, and a little clock with two faces next to each one.’
      • ‘Maybe an African watch should do away with confusing numerals and simply have just a sun and a moon on its face.’
      • ‘When Mrs C draws a clock face, or copies a picture of a flower, she omits much or all of the left side.’
      dial, display
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    6. 2.6 The distinctive side of a playing card.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On the face of each card is a number - there are two cards of each number from 1 to 12.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But still, is there no means of seeing the faces of the 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.’
      • ‘Others drank from flasks and clay bottles, or huddled together to read futures from the faces of playing cards.’
      • ‘It wasn't surprising that Mei had all of his shrubs shaped like the faces of the cards.’
      • ‘The chocolate is accessed by a perforated tear strip on the back face of the card.’
    7. 2.7
      short for typeface
      • ‘Not only are the messages different on each side, but the advertising line is also printed in two type sizes and faces.’
      • ‘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.’
    8. 2.8 The side of a coin showing the head or principal design.
      • ‘He drew a quick rendition of the two faces of the coin the Lujar had shown him.’
      • ‘But high returns and high risk are two faces of the same coin.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Shatner beamed with joy when told he had been selected to be on the face of the coin.’


  • 1Be positioned with the face or front toward (someone or something)

    ‘he turned to face her’
    • ‘But if the same side of the Moon always faces Earth, there should be no lunar tides.’
    • ‘Frankie sat facing the door that opened onto the back porch.’
    • ‘On the bungalow the porch faces the ocean.’
    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
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    1. 1.1[no object] Have the face or front pointing in a specified direction.
      ‘the house faces due east’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Although most rock shelters open on three sides, the Eagle Rock site faces north and is open on only one side.’
      • ‘Make sure your 27 cards are faced down in one pile.’
      • ‘The kitchen faces out onto the dining room and into the living room, which is about 30 by 20 feet.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A breakfast room, which has recently been added onto the kitchen, faces onto the courtyard through a French door.’
    2. 1.2[no object] (of a soldier) turn in a particular direction.
      ‘they immediately faced about’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2Confront and deal with or accept.

    ‘honesty forced her to face facts’
    [no object] ‘the candidates choose not to face up to the pragmatic issues’
    • ‘The main focus at present in the back to school theme that all school goers must face up to.’
    • ‘One of the biggest challenges is to face up to the problem and do something about it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Of course not - the answers would be too difficult for a lot of people to face up to.’
    • ‘He should be forced to face up to his platitudes and obfuscations over the past four years.’
    • ‘Yet even now there is a wilful refusal on the part of the coalition's critics to face up to reality.’
    • ‘If we're not prepared to face up soberly to the truth, how the can we expect them to do so?’
    • ‘It has been an ordeal, but sometimes, we just have to face up to things, ya know?’
    • ‘We would also like to see the real culprits forced to face up to their irresponsibility.’
    • ‘I am delighted that Scotland on Sunday is forcing society to face up to the crisis in our schools.’
    • ‘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 must not be afraid to face up to and express the cause and nature of those fears.’
    • ‘There is this long term demographic problem that any Government is going to have to face up to.’
    • ‘Thus, the majority of graduates face up to the real world already heavily indebted.’
    • ‘Board directors are supposed to face up to their difficulties rather than walk away.’
    • ‘This is quite simply something we are going to have to face up to doing as we are amongst the lowest in the league.’
    • ‘If I have to face up to the fact my feet cannot take it, at least I've given it my best shot.’
    • ‘So, we've had to face up to some very tough decisions which have had to be made.’
    brave, face up to, encounter, meet, meet head-on, confront, dare, defy, oppose, resist, withstand
    accept, come to accept, become reconciled to, reconcile oneself to, get used to, become accustomed to, adjust to, accommodate oneself to, acclimatize oneself to
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    1. 2.1face someone/something down Overcome someone or something by a show of determination.
      ‘he faced down persistent hecklers at a noontime rally’
      • ‘Zacchaeus had the guts to face them down: ‘he stood his ground’ - but not on his dignity.’
      • ‘Others criticise the police for wanting to ‘contain’ sectarian fans rather than face them down and arrest them wholesale.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And Jack was tickled that my mother was one of the first people to really face him down.’
      • ‘Face it, and face it down, or expect more where that came from.’
      • ‘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.’
      stand up to, outface, cow, overawe, intimidate, browbeat, confront, beard, outstare, stare down, stare out, defy
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    2. 2.2 Have (a difficult event or situation) in prospect.
      ‘each defendant faced a maximum sentence of 10 years’
      • ‘Judge Scott also warned that she could face up to four months in prison if she failed to complete the order.’
      • ‘They will be sentenced next month and could face up to two years imprisonment for each vehicle.’
      • ‘If caught, pirate broadcasters face up to two years in jail and unlimited fines.’
      • ‘Breaking the conditions of the order could mean Jason could face up to five years in jail.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Crowe could face up to seven years in prison if found guilty of all charges against him.’
      • ‘A Letterston man faces eviction from the council house in which he has lived for 45 years.’
      • ‘Each character faces calamity and lives in a time of upheaval, and each is influenced by those events.’
      • ‘In around 50 million years, Phobos faces one of two fates.’
      • ‘The threats that our nation faces today are as distinct and remote from that antiquated advice as one can imagine.’
      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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    3. 2.3 (of a problem or difficult situation) present itself to and require action from (someone)
      ‘if you were suddenly faced with an emergency, would you know how to cope?’
      • ‘Hence, humanity is faced with a different warfare that of spiritual and moral warfare.’
      • ‘Even if they win an international award, they are faced with strict investigation and the possibility of punishment from the government.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, existing shareholders are faced with a ‘take it or leave it’ option, but that's another issue.’
      • ‘It would not be realistic for local authorities to expect Government through annual grants, to meet all the obligations they are faced with.’
      • ‘Starting with the ribs, diners are faced with a choice of 13 different types that vary by cut and flavor.’
      • ‘That's the bottom line city councillors were faced with this week as they continued along the 2004 budget path.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The last few divers onto this wreck were faced with a spoked wheel of distance lines radiating out in all directions.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the past, novice readers who hoped to understand a classic text were faced with having to negotiate layers of annotation.’
      • ‘Students enrolling for such programmes are faced with paying the entire cost themselves or applying for the sponsorship of a private company.’
      • ‘The States have sought the approval even as the Centre's buy-back programme is faced with resistance from the public sector banks.’
      • ‘Thus, council is faced with the task of ‘balancing the needs of those living here today and in the future,’ said Currie.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘I suppose every generation is faced with a choice.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He said the group is faced with three main issues.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Solicitors are faced with clients who have been refused cover for future treatment unless the undertaking is signed.’
      • ‘When it comes to implementing and regulating the Protocol, however, developing nations are faced with all kinds of handicaps - for a variety of reasons.’
      beset, worry, distress, cause trouble to, trouble, bother, confront, burden
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  • 3usually be faced withCover the surface of (a thing) with a layer of a different material.

    ‘the external basement walls were faced with granite slabs’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    cover, clad, veneer, skin, overlay, surface, dress, pave, put a facing on, laminate, inlay, plate, coat, line
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  • face down

    • With the face or surface turned toward the ground.

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

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

      • ‘The main perpetrator has not been found and Shane is here facing the music.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 defendant acknowledged what he did was wrong, had not sought to distance himself and was facing the music.’
      • ‘Instead of facing the music, the multibillionaire decamped for Switzerland, beyond the reach of U.S. law.’
      • ‘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 a guitar-strumming member of the faithful political band has faced the music on a minor drugs charge.’
  • the face of the earth

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

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

    • With the face or surface turned upward to view.

      ‘place the panel face up before cutting’
      • ‘Let's start with cards on the table face upwards.’
      • ‘Announce the number of cards you wish to exchange aloud, when you lay them face down on the table.’
      • ‘When doing this exercise, lie face up with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • get out of someone's face

    • informal [usually as imperative]Stop harassing or annoying someone.

      ‘shut up and get out of my face’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She'd have called me a liar and told me to get out of her face.’
      • ‘Now get out of my face before I really lose my temper.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘‘Ugh, get out of my face, James,’ I say rudely before pushing him away.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘I'm sorry, but you wouldn't get out of my face so I had to say something to make you stop.’
  • 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
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  • in one's face

    • Directly at or against one; as one approaches.

      ‘she slammed the door in my face’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Time does not make the frustrations of having so many doors slammed in your face less painful.’
      • ‘I'm not the sort of person who can brusquely say ‘not today thank you’ and slam the door firmly in their face.’
      • ‘Whenever he goes to play in public, he seems to get doors slammed in his face.’
      • ‘One pensioner refused to allow the caller into her house, and slammed the door in his face.’
      • ‘I have visited hundreds of people and had the door slammed in my face.’
      • ‘I introduced myself, waiting for the door to be slammed in my face and, surprise, she let me in and started to talk.’
      • ‘If so, I think he might get upset and potentially bitter when the door gets slammed in his face.’
      • ‘One chap slammed the door in his face but not before he told him he already had enough double-glazing.’
      • ‘And then she shut the door in our faces, left us there on the front porch and went to make the cup of tea.’
  • in the face of

    • 1When confronted with.

      ‘her resolution in the face of the enemy’
      • ‘This does not mean that you should do nothing in the face of adversity or confrontation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Surviving in the face of adversity is a prerequisite for Newfoundland's logging contractors.’
      • ‘While the game is about individuals in the face of confrontation, it is also about partnerships.’
      1. 1.1In spite of.
        ‘reform had been introduced in the face of considerable opposition’
        • ‘On the other hand, he's had a successful career despite this and smiled in the face of adversity.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘It's so easy to feel powerless in the face of all this stuff that it's very easy to give up.’
        • ‘They are also working to predict future demand in the face of further housing development.’
        • ‘This is his key argument, but it flies in the face of what most environmentalists probably hold to be true.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘It's a dire time, and pragmatism beats out idealism in the face of what we're all up against.’
        • ‘David Blunkett has achieved much in life in the face of great personal adversity.’
        • ‘I felt kind of sorry for the guy, especially in the face of what I was about to do.’
        despite, notwithstanding, regardless of, for all
        View synonyms
  • in your face

      • ‘The grille design is certainly in tune with the aggressive trends of the moment, but not as in-your-face as some.’
      • ‘He was a product of the aggressive, cowboy culture of in-your-face broadcast journalism; he cut corners.’
      • ‘The beachfront, for example, is three quarters of a mile of dense, in-your-face, swelling sea along a flat, featureless bay.’
      • ‘It seems the fall trend in Hollywood is the secret romance, as opposed to the previous trend of in-your-face romance.’
      • ‘Maxey said he will avoid in-your-face confrontation that is certain to energize amendment supporters.’
      • ‘She uses an edgy, in-your-face style to break the communication barrier around the eternal issues and dilemmas of desire.’
      • ‘I have to say, she has run a very feisty, in-your-face campaign.’
      • ‘There are no ballads or melodies, just raw, heavy in-your-face aggression.’
      • ‘This is such a great idea that we are convinced other stadiums will follow suit and go for in-your-face product branding.’
      • ‘Peaches makes no apologies for her brazen, in-your-face lyrics.’
      forceful, incisive, strong, powerful, vigorous, vivacious, zestful, animated, dynamic, enthusiastic, effective, impressive, striking, telling, influential, cogent, compelling, convincing, persuasive, eloquent, dramatic, passionate, graphic, vivid, moving, potent, authoritative, great, forcible, aggressive, irresistible, effectual
      View synonyms
  • lose face

    • Suffer a loss of respect; be humiliated.

      ‘the code of conduct required that he strike back or lose face’
      • ‘Many leaders don't want to lose face by admitting failures.’
      • ‘Also, asking for clarification may indicate lack of expertise and people don't want to lose face in doing that.’
      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

    • A loss of respect; humiliation.

      ‘he could step aside now without loss of face’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • make a face (or faces)

    • Produce an expression on one's face that shows dislike, disgust, or some other negative emotion, or that is intended to be amusing.

      ‘she made a face and tossed her purse at him’
      • ‘He was shouting at me and pulling faces and laughing.’
      • ‘He hides behind the door and pulls faces at the camera.’
      • ‘Nuvolari had a colourful driving style, sitting up high in the seat and pulling faces while racing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When she caught him looking at her she frowned and made a face at him until he turned away.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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
  • on the face of it

    • Without knowing all of the relevant facts; at first glance.

      ‘on the face of it, these improvements look to be insignificant’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Like peace before the storm, Sunday was marked by total inaction at least on the face of it.’
      • ‘Consumers, on the face of it, will be offered an attractive deal.’
      • ‘That, on the face of it, was a decision on the facts and on the background evidence before the adjudicator.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However, on the face of it, I thought probation might be appropriate.’
      • ‘I have had a look at that, and I think the reason is apparent on the face of it.’
      • ‘You may suspect something's terribly wrong here and, on the face of it, you would be right.’
      • ‘And I think that we found that they are not as dissimilar as they seem on the face of it.’
      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
      apparently, seemingly, evidently, outwardly, as far as one knows, as far as one can see, as far as one can tell, by all accounts, so it seems
      so the story goes, so i'm told, so it appears, so it seems, so it would appear, so it would seem
      allegedly, supposedly, reputedly
      View synonyms
  • put a good (or brave or bold) face on something

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

      ‘he tried to put a good face on the financial picture’
      • ‘I can put a brave face on it, but really all I want to do is be by myself and weep for a month.’
      • ‘She was sure her absolute terror was showing but she tried to put a brave face on it anyway.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘He is staying very positive but is hugely disappointed and is putting a brave face on it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Very often nobody in the house knows how you feel and you put a brave face on it.’
      • ‘That put a brave face on it, but there were guilty consciences wherever you looked.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, Ostenstad is putting a brave face on his own injury set-back.’
      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 makeup to one's face.

      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘Plus, Mom was blasting music in the next room while she was putting her face on.’
  • save face

    • Retain respect; avoid humiliation.

      ‘an outcome that allows them all to save face’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Foyle Assembly member said: ‘If this is about saving face, then people will be sceptical.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One day an estranged celebrity couple is getting along; the next day it's an all-out war over custody, property or saving face.’
      • ‘Reluctantly, they'll find a way of saving face while admitting that they're not quite up to where I want them to be.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘That way, it would save face for me and avoid any further conflicts with Tinka and Victor.’
  • set one's face against

    • Oppose or resist with determination.

      ‘he had set his face against the idea’
      • ‘His home had become tainted; he set his face against it and loped away down the country lane.’
      • ‘I read that Seend have set their face against traffic calming, removed road markings and seen traffic speeds drop by 5mph.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘But unless rents were to rise significantly, and we have set our face against such a change, progress would be slow.’
      • ‘We set our face against any kind of empire building and this has helped generate trust.’
      • ‘Can't he see that even the gods have set their face against him continuing?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘How could he throw her generosity back in her 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We gave it every chance, but our goodwill has been thrown back in our 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.’’
      • ‘He worked hard to provide a service for just the kind of kids who threw it back in his face.’
  • to one's face

    • Openly in one's presence.

      ‘you're telling me to my face I'm a liar’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I will tell you to your face what I've said off; no one can teach it better than you.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’

Phrasal Verbs

  • face off

    • 1Take up an attitude of confrontation, especially at the start of a fight or game.

      ‘close to a million soldiers face off in the desert’
      • ‘The two teams will face off in a second game on Saturday at 2 p.m.’
      • ‘This one of the most dangerous situations on the globe: two large countries with nuclear capability facing off against each other.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Ellis now found himself at Tiger Stadium for the All-Star Game, facing off against Blue in an historic matchup of minority pitchers.’
      • ‘Divided into two teams of four, they face off in a game of paintball warfare in the woods.’
      1. 1.1Start or restart play with a face-off.
        • ‘When the rule is violated, play stops and the puck is faced off in the neutral zone.’
        • ‘If, in the opinion of the official, an intentional offside has been made, the puck shall be faced off at the end zone face-off spot in the defending zone of the offending team.’


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