Definition of face in US English:

face

noun

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

    1. 1.1 The face as expressing emotion; an expression shown on the face.
      ‘the happy faces of these children’
    2. 1.2 A manifestation or outward aspect of something.
      ‘the unacceptable face of social drinking’
    3. 1.3with adjective A person of a particular type.
      ‘this season's squad has a lot of old faces in it’
  • 2The surface of a thing, especially one that is presented to the view or has a particular function.

    1. 2.1Geometry Each of the surfaces of a solid.
      ‘the faces of a cube’
    2. 2.2 A vertical or sloping side of a mountain or cliff.
      ‘the south face of Broad Peak’
    3. 2.3 The side of a planet or moon facing the observer.
    4. 2.4 The front of a building.
    5. 2.5 The plate of a clock or watch bearing the digits or hands.
    6. 2.6 The distinctive side of a playing card.
    7. 2.7
      short for typeface
    8. 2.8 The side of a coin showing the head or principal design.

verb

[with object]
  • 1Be positioned with the face or front toward (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
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1no object Have the face or front pointing in a specified direction.
      ‘the house faces due east’
      • ‘Although most rock shelters open on three sides, the Eagle Rock site faces north and is open on only one side.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This building faces onto Blaxland road and Lane Cove road.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A breakfast room, which has recently been added onto the kitchen, faces onto the courtyard through a French door.’
    2. 1.2no 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’
    1. 2.1face someone/something down Overcome someone or something by a show of determination.
      ‘he faced down persistent hecklers at a noontime rally’
    2. 2.2 Have (a difficult event or situation) in prospect.
      ‘each defendant faced a maximum sentence of 10 years’
    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?’
  • 3usually be faced withCover 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
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • face down

    • With the face or surface turned toward the ground.

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

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But a guitar-strumming member of the faithful political band has faced the music on a minor drugs charge.’
      • ‘There's an anonymous quote which goes: ‘A real leader faces the music, even when he doesn't like the tune.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘I was scared witless, so I just sank a double brandy, said to myself it's now or never ’, and faced the music.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Instead of facing the music, the multibillionaire decamped for Switzerland, beyond the reach of U.S. law.’
  • 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 grueling training on the face of the earth’
      • ‘Within 30 hours of the move she had gone - disappeared off the face of the earth.’
      • ‘‘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?’
      • ‘She felt like screaming and crying and just disappearing off of the face of the earth all at the same time.’
      • ‘Why have they seemingly vanished from the face of the planet in terms of their public profile?’
      • ‘Common sense seems to be disappearing off 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.’
      • ‘Being a helpdesk operator has to be one of the most thankless tasks on the face of the planet.’
      • ‘Why are you the only human being on the face of the planet who could possibly write this book?’
  • face up

    • With the face or surface turned upward to view.

      ‘place the panel face up before cutting’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘She'd have called me a liar and told me to get out of her face.’
      • ‘He said that they wouldn't get out of his face and were calling him all sorts of ugly names.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘It's none of your business, Kass, get out of my face!’
      • ‘‘Ugh, get out of my face, James,’ I say rudely before pushing him away.’
      • ‘I don't like to be looked at so 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.’
      • ‘I don't care where you go, just get out of my face.’
      • ‘Now get out of my face before I really lose my temper.’
  • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I have visited hundreds of people and had the door slammed in my face.’
      • ‘One pensioner refused to allow the caller into her house, and slammed the door 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Time does not make the frustrations of having so many doors slammed in your face less painful.’
      • ‘If so, I think he might get upset and potentially bitter when the door gets slammed in his face.’
  • in face (or the face) of

    • 1When confronted with.

      ‘her resolution in the face of the enemy’
      • ‘It was a good resolution, but one that failed in the face of a lovely sunny day.’
      • ‘This does not mean that you should do nothing in the face of adversity or confrontation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As a group they command very little respect, but they must stand firm in the face of any confrontation.’
      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.’
        • ‘David Blunkett has achieved much in life in the face of great personal adversity.’
        • ‘People scratched their heads at the time in the face of what seemed an unlikely match.’
        • ‘On the other hand, he's had a successful career despite this and smiled in the face of adversity.’
        • ‘They are also working to predict future demand in the face of further housing development.’
        • ‘I felt kind of sorry for the guy, especially in the face of what I was about to do.’
        • ‘When asked how she keeps going in the face of all her challenges, she smiles quietly.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘It's so easy to feel powerless in the face of all this stuff that it's very easy to give up.’
        despite, notwithstanding, regardless of, for all
        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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most sportspeople who operate at the highest level are paid - directly or indirectly - and without loss of face by administrators.’
      • ‘I've incurred so many: loss of face (quite literally), cuts, bruises, lost tooth, a mysterious ‘third knee’ etc. etc.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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).’
  • make (or pull) 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’
      • ‘Nuvolari had a colourful driving style, sitting up high in the seat and pulling faces while racing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Daniel pulled a face at Arthur, making clear his disapproval and dislike of Alicia's suitor.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was shouting at me and pulling faces and laughing.’
      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.’
      • ‘That, on the face of it, was a decision on the facts and on the background evidence before the adjudicator.’
      • ‘Consumers, on the face of it, will be offered an attractive deal.’
      • ‘However, on the face of it, I thought probation might be appropriate.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And I think that we found that they are not as dissimilar as they seem on the face of it.’
      • ‘Like peace before the storm, Sunday was marked by total inaction at least on the face of it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I know nothing of the court case in question but, on the face of it, this seems a very reasonable position.’
      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 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’
      • ‘Meanwhile, Ostenstad is putting a brave face on his own injury set-back.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I can put a brave face on it, but really all I want to do is be by myself and weep for a month.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He is staying very positive but is hugely disappointed and is putting a brave face on it.’
      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.

      • ‘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

    • Retain respect; avoid humiliation.

      ‘an outcome that allows them all to save face’
      • ‘The Foyle Assembly member said: ‘If this is about saving face, then people will be sceptical.’’
      • ‘It was a matter of saving face, not of saving games.’
      • ‘One day an estranged celebrity couple is getting along; the next day it's an all-out war over custody, property or saving face.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The win yesterday was very much a case of two old professionals doing what they do best and saving face for the national team.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That way, it would save face for me and avoid any further conflicts with Tinka and Victor.’
      • ‘Reluctantly, they'll find a way of saving face while admitting that they're not quite up to where I want them to be.’
      • ‘In tribally run district courts and within families, decisions that rule women's lives are a matter of obedience, convention and 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’
      • ‘Here is a simple three-step program to save your face.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I say to him that he should save his face and vote against this bill.’
      • ‘She said Parnell went through with the wedding: ‘To save my face and stop me looking like a complete idiot.’’
      • ‘Yet even as he spoke he was conscious that this verbal attempt to save his face did him no better service than his fencing.’
      • ‘He could have saved his face, but he had to let it out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So is it better to tell and hurt or lie to save their face?’
  • set one's face against

    • Oppose or resist with determination.

      ‘he had set his face against the idea’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But unless rents were to rise significantly, and we have set our face against such a change, progress would be slow.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Can't he see that even the gods have set their face against him continuing?’
      • ‘We set our face against any kind of empire building and this has helped generate trust.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His home had become tainted; he set his face against it and loped away down the country lane.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘He worked hard to provide a service for just the kind of kids who threw it back in his 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.’
      • ‘Then, when they see you again (and they always see you again), the words are thrown back in your face.’
      • ‘I was extending an olive branch and all you can do is throw it back in my 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Honestly, I try to be nice to the boy and he throws it back in my 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.’’
      • ‘How could he throw her generosity back in her face?’
  • to one's face

    • Openly in one's presence.

      ‘you're telling me to my face I'm a liar’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Why can't I be brave enough to ask you 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.’
      • ‘Either he doesn't have enough nerve to call, or he has so much nerve that he lies to your face.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Divided into two teams of four, they face off in a game of paintball warfare in the woods.’
      • ‘At the end of the month, weekly winners will then move on to the deathmatch round, facing off in a final reader poll.’
      • ‘Joseph stepped away from the fallen soldiers and faced off against Saldraen.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some 60,000 French soldiers faced off 6,000 English soldiers, mainly archers.’
      1. 1.1Start or restart play with a face-off.

Origin

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

Pronunciation

face

/feɪs//fās/