noun, often attributive
\ ˈfās \

Definition of face 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the front part of the head that in humans extends from the forehead to the chin and includes the mouth, nose, cheeks, and eyes

b : the face as a means of identification : countenance would know that face anywhere

2 archaic : presence, sight

3a : facial expression a friendly face

b : a facial expression of distaste or displeasure he made a face when he saw the test results

c : makeup sense 3a(1)

4a(1) : outward appearance put a good face on it

(2) : the aspect of something that is perceptible or obvious upon superficial examination the theory is absurd on its face —Kim Neely

b : disguise, pretense

c(1) : assurance, confidence maintaining a firm face in spite of adversity

(2) : effrontery how anyone could have the face to ask that question

d : dignity, prestige afraid to lose face

5 : surface:

a(1) : a front, upper, or outer surface vanished from the face of the earth

(2) : the front of something having two or four sides the face of a clock

(3) : facade the face of a building

(4) : an exposed surface of rock

(5) : any of the plane surfaces that bound a geometric solid A cube is a solid with six square faces.

b : a surface specially prepared: such as

(1) : the principal dressed surface (as of a disk)

(2) : the right side (as of cloth or leather)

(3) : an inscribed, printed, or marked side the two faces of a coin

c : a striking surface (as of a tool) the face of the golf club the face of an anvil

d(1) : the surface (as of type) that receives the ink and transfers it to the paper

(2) : a style of type

6 : the end or wall of a mine tunnel, drift, or excavation at which work is progressing

8a : person lots of new faces around here

b professional wrestling : baby face sense 2 Randy Orton earned respect as a heel because of his cocky, overconfident persona. As a face, he's lost the smugness that defined his character and is struggling to find his identity. —Rennie Detore

in one's face

: directly and aggressively in one's presence dunked the ball in his face often used with get to describe aggressively confrontational speech or behavior his boss got in his face about being late

in the face of or less commonly in face of

: face-to-face with : despite fearless in the face of danger

to one's face

: in one's presence or so that one is fully aware of what is going on If you have something to say about me, say it to my face.


faced; facing

Definition of face (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to confront impudently faced him with evidence of treachery

2a : to line near the edge especially with a different material

b : to cover the front or surface of faced the building with marble

3 : to meet face-to-face or in competition The team will face a tough opponent in its next game.

4a : to stand or sit with the face toward The teacher faced the class.

b : to have the front oriented toward a house facing the park

5a : to recognize and deal with straightforwardly face the facts

b : to master by confronting with determination used with down faced down his critics

6a : to have as a prospect : be confronted by face a grim future

b : to be a prospect or a source of concern for the problems that face us

c : to bring face-to-face he was faced with ruin

7 : to make the surface of (something, such as a stone) flat or smooth

8 : to cause (troops) to face in a particular direction on command The captain faced his company to the left.

intransitive verb

1 : to have the face or front turned in a specified direction The house faced south.

2 : to turn the face in a specified direction She faced to her left.

face the music

: to meet an unpleasant situation, a danger, or the consequences of one's actions

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Examples of face in a Sentence


He has a round face. His face is familiar but I can't remember his name. I'll never forget the look on her face. He fell flat on his face. I didn't recognize any of the faces around the table. There are lots of new faces around the office.


The teacher faced the class. She turned around to face the window. He sat facing the wall. Turn and face to the east. The house faces the park. The living room faces the afternoon sun. My shoe was lying in the corner with its sole facing upward. The flower opens facing skyward. Look at the illustration on the facing page. Only by facing your problems can you hope to overcome them.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Schnatter has long been the face of the brand, appearing in TV ads for Papa John's, and the company has noted in regulatory filings its business could be harmed if Schnatter's reputation was damaged. Candace Choi, Cincinnati.com, "Papa John's to pull founder from marketing after racial slur reports," 13 July 2018 Kravitz’s succeeds model Edie Campbell, who was the most recent face of the fragrance. Aubri Juhasz, The Cut, "Zoë Kravitz Is Also Now a Fragrance Spokesmodel," 13 July 2018 Delta’s competitors also are face rising fuel costs that could affect their flight plans. Kelly Yamanouchi, ajc, "Delta to trim growth plans for flights this fall," 13 July 2018 Schnatter has long been the face of the brand, and the company has acknowledged in regulatory filings its business could be harmed if Schnatter's reputation was damaged. Candice Choi, USA TODAY, "Papa John's to pull founder John Schnatter's image from marketing over racial slur," 13 July 2018 If Donald Trump is now the face of Brexit in Britain, Brexit is in trouble. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Did Trump Just Help Stop Brexit?," 13 July 2018 Now the younger Miguel is the face of Maya's brand, with more than 5,000 Instagram followers and a fledgling YouTube channel on Mexican cooking. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "Taqueria Maya owners open Mexican restaurant with a millennial twist in railyard," 12 July 2018 Khalid and Noah Cyrus are the new faces of Hollister Co.’s #CarpeNow campaign. Melinda Newman, Billboard, "Khalid & Noah Cyrus On Being the New Faces for Hollister's Back-to-School Campaign: Exclusive," 12 July 2018 Flowers is a familiar face at the commission's meetings, according to one council member. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Legalize ‘happy ending’ massages, Lawrence man urges council. His passion is praised," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Serena, facing a glacier of indifference, is compelled to do something radical. refinery29.com, "The Handmaid's Tale Recap Season 2, Episode 13: The Martha Express," 11 July 2018 But Trump has faced endless opposition as he's worked to renovate the Turnberry resort on the west coast and expand Trump International Golf Links Scotland, in Aberdeen. Jill Colvin And Paul Kelbie, chicagotribune.com, "Trump lies low in Scotland ahead of high-stakes meeting with Putin," 14 July 2018 Nevertheless, Summerfest has faced major obstacles before. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Summerfest in Milwaukee reports lowest attendance in at least 25 years," 13 July 2018 Since the game moved to the finale in 2014, Kentucky has faced that scenario twice and failed to beat Louisville for its sixth win both times. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "How Kentucky football can win (or lose) against Louisville in 2018," 13 July 2018 Trout had faced Cook 12 times previously, but not since 2015, after which Cook suffered a cascade of injuries. Tom Verducci, SI.com, "The Star That Still Won't Shine: The Incredible, Unprecedented but Unseen Greatness of Mike Trout," 12 July 2018 The water and sewer company with about 30,000 customers in the San Tan Valley area has faced hundreds of complaints from customers this year alone, including for low water pressure that forced at least one school to flush toilets with bottled water. Ryan Randazzo, azcentral, "Judge slams Johnson Utilities' service, says company needs an emergency manager," 12 July 2018 While historians have credited NATO with unifying Western democracies during the Cold War, the organization has faced internal struggles in the past. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "What is NATO and why is Donald Trump slamming it?," 12 July 2018 After proposing the idea as a supervisor, Farrell has been by far its biggest champion, but the concept has faced criticisms over costs. Dominic Fracassa, SFChronicle.com, "Now-former SF Mayor Farrell looks back on short term, future of city," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'face.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of face


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for face


Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Vulgar Latin *facia (attested in early Medieval Latin as facia "portrait"), re-formation of Latin faciēs "appearance, aspect, form, human face," from fac-, stem of facere "to make, do" + -iēs, noun suffix, usually deverbal — more at fact


Middle English facen, verbal derivative of face face entry 1

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Learn More about face

Dictionary Entries near face







face and fill

Statistics for face

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for face

The first known use of face was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for face



English Language Learners Definition of face

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the front part of the head that has the eyes, nose, and mouth on it

: a facial expression

: the way something appears when it is first seen or thought about



English Language Learners Definition of face (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stand or sit with your face and body turned toward (something or someone)

: to have the front part toward (something)

: to be on the page that is opposite to (another page)


\ ˈfās \

Kids Definition of face

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the front part of the head

2 : an expression of the face a sad face

3 : outward appearance It looks easy on the face of it.

4 : a funny or silly expression

5 : an expression showing displeasure

6 : respect entry 1 sense 1 He was afraid of losing face.

7 : a front, upper, or outer surface

8 : one of the flat surfaces that bound a solid a face of a cube


faced; facing

Kids Definition of face (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to have the front or face toward The house faces east.

2 : to cover the front or surface of The building will be faced with marble.

3 : to oppose with determination face danger


noun, often attributive
\ ˈfās \

Medical Definition of face 

1a : the front part of the human head including the chin, mouth, nose, cheeks, eyes, and usually the forehead

b : the corresponding part of the head of a lower animal

2 : surface especially : a front, upper, or outer surface

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Legal Definition of face 

1a : outward appearance

b : the surface or superficial reading or meaning of something (as a document or statute) that does not take into account outside information the face of [the] deed reveals that she had two purposes in mindState v. Rand, 366 A.2d 183 (1976) often used in the phrases on its face and on the face of is…neutral on its face but has a discriminatory effect on women —Marcia Coyle did not see on the face of the amendment that it was precisely directed at public as distinguished from private destructionO'Brien v. United States, 376 F.2d 538 (1967)

2 : the inscribed or printed side of something (as a document) broadly : the front side of something inscribed or printed on both sides the face of a stock certificate

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Comments on face

What made you want to look up face? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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